Many Marathi news channels are unable to run their business profitably due to declining advertising revenues as well as favouring from the market.
Whenever viewers watch the programmes aired on Marathi news channels they think about the glitz and glamour associated with it but the reality is far different as most of these channels are incurring heavy losses. Many of them are finding it difficult to earn revenues and are on the verge of closure. Some of them are struggling to run their business and have not paid salaries to their staff for three to four months.
The employees working with these news channels are frustrated as they are finding it difficult to make both ends meet. “I have a family to take care of and my colleagues have already availed loans for purchasing flats. They are also finding it difficult to repay the loans taken by them,” said a journalist working with a news channel.
Many Marathi news channels are facing severe financial problems due to falling viewership. Today most of the viewers of these news channels belong to the age group 40 to 60 as the youth have shifted loyalties towards digital media. Since youth comprise more than 35 per cent of the population it’s becoming a huge challenge for these channels to lure them.
“Most of the content aired on Marathi news channels don’t seem to appeal to the youth hence they are spending more time on watching news on mobile phones and laptops. Thus these channels have failed to revive themselves with the changing times and still stuck in the 80’s era when television had gained prominence in the Indian market,” said an advertising official on the condition of anonymity.
Even viewers are fed up with the programmes aired on news channels as it contains more debates and sensational news to garner TRPs. Most of the stories are simply planted by news channels without carrying out proper investigation. Lack of trained journalists too is affecting the growth of Marathi news channels. Many channels are unable to run their business profitably due to declining advertising revenues. They also fail to recover their operating costs. Huge licence fees, rising competition and inflation are another reasons why these news channels are failing to earn money.
Another reason behind the downfall of news channels is due to political interference in their functioning. Today politicians own several news channels as they serve as a platform to relay their opinion and ideology to viewers. As a result of this, the quality of news gets compromised as viewers lose interest in watching those programmes. The entry of business houses into media sector has further impacted the business of Marathi news channels. Large corporate houses invest lumpsum amount in these channels and later on increase their stake in them. Later on the staff working for the channel is shown the door and are replaced by officials who are in close proximity with corporate houses.