Time Network’s new strategy for English regional news channel

Times Network Managing Director and CEO MK Anand sees opportunity in English regional news. The network does not have any plan as of yet, Bennett Coleman & Company Ltd (BCCL) has already applied for six new licences.

Right now, Time network already has Mirror Now as English news channel and Movies Now 2 for the movies. Viceland in India is also to be launched in June.

Time Network declared: “We have always kept licences ready. As soon as the concept is ready, we start off. It’s not that we have any idea right now. Vice is one channel that we will launch. In the English entertainment space, I don’t think there is much now. But I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t venture into another differentiated product or languages in news,”

The recent restructuration of the company in 3 clusters ( News, Movies and HD) MK Anand declared “We have reduced our second layer of management substantially with the reorganisation of our teams. We have had more vertical teams and therefore there were more people at the VP level, which we have completely done away with. We are operating an English news cluster, an HD cluster and a movies cluster. All this has led us to being able to shed people at the VP level. We have been strict on our bottom performers this year because demonetisation has had an impact on our business. We have a 25% bottom performers who have been put into performance improvement programme. If they don’t shape up, they have to move out. That has been strictly enforced this time,”

According to MK Arnand the new Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Tariff order (TRAI) would be good for its business. He commented “It is good from a subscription point of view. It may not be very good from reach and ad sales point of view. We are an ad-led company, but that doesn’t mean that we cannot become a subscription-led company. It may have short-term pains. But we are ready for both the tracks,But if there is a mischief played in packaging like base pack or FTA pack, then the game will change substantially because then to stay relevant in ad sales, all the English entertainment players will have to be in high premium English pack. It’s a risky proposition for the industry.”