Speaking on day one of FICCI Frames 2014, Raghav Bahl, founder and editor, Network18, spoke about the importance of regional media and his ‘hobby’: television.
Bahl said, "In 1947, the world was getting divided into two types - communists and liberal democracies. The communist countries had controlled media, while the liberal had free media. India, got into an in-between zone and became a controlled economy with a license raj. In the '90s when the economy opened up, we freed up and ran in to a free country. Disruptive technologies were thrown in and Star, Sony, Sun and TV18 were born. We (Network18) started as a tiny production company and along the way the network has been involved with all of India's change."
"We've led the business news sector for the last decade and a half. When we were setting foot in the market, people were sceptical because they held the opinion that the business news market wasn't big enough. But today, outside the USA, CNBC India is the largest and most profitable. We grew in 10 years compared to the 60 to 70 years other networks had around the world. Since then, we've launched 12 or 13 news channels (including regional)," added Bahl.
Bahl also spoke of the growth of regional media. "The regional media is one which is growing and we've tapped into the market by launching news18.com a few weeks ago. It's a new digital 'device' that gives local news about districts," said Bahl.
"News has been the great contributor to media in the last two decades. All the negatives around it is getting into fringe criticism. The core of news (media) is still hungry and going in the right direction. Media now sees pluralism. Even a strong centralised community like China is seeing variants coming up," surmised the media veteran.