Will advertisers consider punishing TV channels for unethical TRP strategies?

In light of recent insensitive coverage of issues of TV news channels, some of the top brands of India have raised concern about the impact of such toxic content on their brand.

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Some of India’s top advertisers have raised concerns that the toxic content used by news channels to gain TRPs, may become harmful for the brands, said Best Media Info report on September 28.

Parle product’s Senior Category Head Krishnarao Buddha told the news media platform that he worried about the “pathetic state” that news channels have stooped to and said that advertisers should collectively try to correct this wrong by working as a real purpose-driven brand. Buddha went so far as to suggest that leading advertisers should ban the news genre until the channels are compelled to bring back sanity and ethics in their content.

Similarly, Amul’s R. S. Sodhi said that news channels were instilling negativity in the minds of youngsters and it was about time for advertisers to act. While he accepted that Amul spent 35-40 percent of its total television budget on news, Sodhi argued that news channels should be pressured to behave and refrain from unwanted aggression.

Recently, several brands have reduced their advertising on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, fearing the rising hate speech and toxicity on virtual platforms.

Meanwhile an official from top FMCG brand said he felt TV news failed in their journalistic ethics by instilling hatred, disrespect and aggression in consumers via insensitive content.

Following the recent incident of the Sudarshan TV airing Islamophobic content on its show, the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) recommended ways to strengthen the self-regulatory mechanism of the News Broadcasting Standard Association (NBSA.)

However, from the advertising side, Maruti Suzuki India Limited’s Sales and Marketing Executive Director Shashank Srivastava pointed out that brands could not manoeuvre the grey area of what constitutes as good or bad content.

The report also showed that some brands were scared of reducing advertising on news channels because of repercussions. One of the advertisers explained that there was a fear of the brand falling into controversy.

As a proof of this fear, a leading Pan Masala brand said in the report that they cannot comment on the issue as they could be an easy target for news channels.



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