English, Hindi channel newsrooms to be integrated

TV18 Broadcast, the company that runs CNN-IBN, IBN7 and CNBC-TV18, is going through an organisational restructuring. This has already led to a few employees getting the pink slip; many more could receive them over the next few days.

The company is in the process of integrating the newsrooms of its English and Hindi channels. Under the integrated newsrooms model, it will reduce staff requirements by drawing on bilingual skills for reportage. Ernst & Young is advising the company on the restructuring process.

Earlier this week, Dilip Venkatraman, CEO of CNN-IBN and IBN7, quit the company to pursue, in the company’s words, his “entrepreneurial interests”. The company statement also said that Ajay Chacko, COO, Network18, will oversee the operations of the IBN News Network in the interim.

Industry sources say the indirect control of Reliance Industries has led to this restructuring. Reliance Industries had committed investments worth Rs 4,800 crore to the promoters of TV18 through Independent Media Trust.

TV18 Broadcast, which is a subsidiary of Network 18, operates various news channels, including CNBC-TV18, CNBC Awaaz, CNN-IBN, IBN7 and IBN Lokmat. Sources within CNN-IBN and IBN7 say some employees have already quit and that some technical staff in CNBC-TV18 and CNBC Awaaz teams have been asked to leave.

Sources suggest that as many as 350 people across news channels may be told to go. The total staff strength of the news channels put together is estimated at less than 2,000.

When contacted, B. Sai Kumar, Group CEO, Network18, refused to comment.

The integrated general newsroom is likely to be led by Rajdeep Sardesai.

In July, Network18 announced the setting up of ‘Network18 Business Newsroom’, an integrated newsroom comprising its market leading broadcast and digital news outlets in the business media space, under the leadership of Senthil Chengalvarayan.

meenakshi.v@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 15, 2013)
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