In this day of “...and we’ll be back after a commercial break...don’t go away”, TV channels need something to fill in the spaces between these breaks, which after all are their real raison d’etre. But if you allow - or force - people to speak interminably, it is inevitable that sooner or later they will start talking incomprehensible inanities.
Which is the situation with regard to news on the stock market and cricket matches. By and large, most of the cricket viewing public would probably be quite satisfied if they have heard the scores. Equally, the punters on the stock market can only swallow so much analysis. But fill in the spaces between commercial breaks we must, in order to attract large numbers of eyeballs (Why not ‘frontal lobes’? Or ‘urinary bladder’? Why this discrimination in favour of the optic spheroid??? But we digress...). So, anyway, the point is, they have to do something and we see three ‘drivers’ if I may call them that, used to fill in the cracks.
Analysis and prediction
This of course is supposed to be the whole purpose of the aftermath and premath of programming around the events. And this is where you hear examples of penetrating perspicaciousness such as: “And when they had scored 142 after the 16th over, we knew we were going to see a total in excess of 140” and “No firm predictions can be made at this point. It looks as if the match can go either way... the Delhi Daredevils will win. Or CSK will.”
And from the stock market trenches: “If the index on a pre-and post-beta adjusted basis, breaches the breach, we can expect the market to either correct further. Or not” and “The index has just lost 176,500 points... suggesting that it is in negative territory”.
This seems to be de rigeur. In the case of the IPL events, you find two gents, one of them often encased in a turban, accompanied by a member of the fairer sex. Who leaves you in no doubt about her gender as she displays 50 per cent of her assets encased in a satiny thingy.
The stock market molls are not permitted similar asset allocation in the studio, but nonetheless show evidence that they have not left the salon business without customers. And remember they are supposed to appeal to the thinking man, so they cannot use the same appeal. In a Vidya Balan-esque act, one of them uses the ‘tragedy queen’ persona to appeal to the viewers who have just seen 73% of their portfolio get trashed by ‘correction’ as the index moved into negative territory.
Of course, when they step out of the studio, they doll up quite well. Did you say you cannot remember any meaningful insight from them? Ah well...
And then of course they try to raise the bar (‘No credit in bar service. All drinks to be paid in advance. No smoking allowed.’). And raising the bar for the innocuously inane to the incredible, calls for...philosophising things. In cricketing, it may take the form: “The reason I like Sehwag, is that once he puts his shoulder to the wheel he does not readily sheathe the sword”. And on the ticker: “In our analyst poll (among four people who bothered to take our call), 33% said that in choosing a CFO, they feel that ‘a man who hits below the belt is not worth his salt”.
So much for content is king. Excuse me while I take away my eyeballs, and go attend to my bladder.