There is no doubting the fact that Prannoy Roy is the biggest and most respected name in the Indian news television business. Even his competitors acknowledge it and recognise his contribution to the genre. Agreed the Barkha Dutt episode and the various financial troubles his network has faced may have dented his image, but he’s still the best. And when it comes to elections, he wins hands down.
Which is why around election results, NDTV 24x7 is the channel to switch to. The combination of Prannoy and market research veteran Dorab Sopariwala is outstanding. If Vinod Dua would’ve been around, it would’ve been even better but then the channel isn’t bi-lingual.
To a large extent, it’s the duo’s mastery with elections data that’s a pull. Psephology is now a word that doesn’t require a look-up to the dictionary thanks to these two gentlemen. But I think even the studio guests they bring in, are far, far better than those elsewhere. Or perhaps they are just more relaxed and chilled when there are on NDTV 24x7. There’s no one interjecting, the counter-questions are easy and if anyone butts in, it’s with an apology.
So when NDTV announced its opinion polls special, I was looking forward to it. It was vintage Prannoy. He may have been a little stiff initially, but as the show progressed, he eased up.
I was a bit surprised at it being hyped as ‘India’s Biggest Opinion Poll’. It was so unlike NDTV. Guess in times where everything is exaggerated, one shouldn’t grudge NDTV of doing the same.
I missed the early part of Day 1 of the NDTV op poll, as I was at a BBC rendezvous with presenter Jon Sopel and Global News CEO Jim Egan. There were frequent references made to the decibel levels of our news shows (without naming Arnab Goswami, of course). When asked to compare news on the Beeb and in India, Jon, started shouting out loud, in jest of course. Just as you-know-who.
Pradyuman Maheshwari is a senior journalist and editor. When he’s not chasing news, he’s watching it.