Whenever I go to a well-known Indian news channel, I run into an ad. So I decided to do some research; between 7 pm and 10 pm, over the last fortnight or so, I logged into this channel (and its nearest competitor) 100 times; over 50% of the time I found an ad on both channels. This is quite shocking. 7 pm to 10 pm is prime time, that’s when people are coming to your channel to get the news.
Any TV channel needs advertising income. But it cannot be at the expense of its core product, which for a news channel has to be news. This particular channel is getting the causal relationship wrong. News presented well gets viewers that get advertising, not the other way around.
What can this particular channel do now? First, decide on the news-ad ratio in prime time. 8 minutes per hour should be just about right if you want to be a serious news channel. Then, double or triple the ad rate; that should bring down the advertising volume in a hurry.
The channel may suffer for a few months but viewers will be thrilled, and the advertisers will eventually return. Easier said than done, some may argue. True, but I find it difficult to believe that a business cannot figure out why it exists. Once you are clear why you are in business, stick to it. The rest will fall into place.