Is there room for another channel?

There’s an interesting nugget that Arnab Goswami (gosh, can this column ever be written without his mention?) tells the world every time he’s invited to speak somewhere.

That how a decade back, when Times Now was setting up, every one had written it off saying that the country doesn’t need yet another English news channel. The naysayers were proved right for the first few years of launch, not because there was no room for a new offering, but as there was no room for a bad channel (this last bit not said by Mr G, of course).

A few years after Arnab re-arrived with Times Now, NewsX was launched by Indian television’s poster boy Peter Mukerjea with Vir Sanghvi at the helm.

Vir and Peter fell out and later, in March 2009, Peter got out of the network and the news channel was sold to Indore-based Nai Duniya newspaper’s Vinay Chhajlani and biz journalist Jehangir Pocha. The duo had ambitious plans and were even contemplating rechristening the channel IMN News, ridding it of NewsX’s failed legacy.

The combined brains of Chhajlani and Pocha couldn’t save NewsX from mounting losses and finally the channel was sold to its current owner: Kartikeya Sharma. Sharma, who would then run India News and newspaper Aaj Samaj, was better known as the brother of Manu Sharma, of Jessica Lal case fame. He now also owns MJ Akbar’s Sunday Guardian.

To be fair, Kartikeya has been trying his damnedest to see NewsX fare well in the weekly ratings roster. The channel now sports youthful red and blue colours, and has a show by Vir Sanghvi in addition to a reverse interview format hosted by M J Akbar. Other than the packaging, NewsX also has a new set of anchors, I am told. In addition to main man Rahul Shivshankar and Diptosh Majumdar, that is. We need to continue to suffer Jhujhar Singh though.

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