Can a media outlet survive on sound alone? Or would that just be Image, signifying nothing? What makes a long-term brand and how sustainable is it, beyond the first 100 days? These are some of the initial questions that confront anybody attempting to understand the launch of Republic.
That it is already completely intertwined with the personality and the peccadilloes of one person is obvious. Whether it is his YouTube challenge thrown deftly at those daring to oppose him or the sub- terranean noises about funding, the popular discourse amongst circles of consequence has been high about the Republic. Just a bit higher than the many giant hoardings that have gone up and the hoardings that then joined issue with them – who could have missed the many twitter memes doing the rounds.
Whether his launch episode will feature a first -ever joint interview of the 2-G power duo that rules or whether it’s just a mythical miasma, there’s curiosity at every stage. Curiosity certainly its generated but is it an excruciating migraine (even for Pakistan) – now that’s stretching it even in Image terms.
For the people who matter in this business and they are just a few, it’s the tit-bits that are delicious. From media owners to editors from publishers to media buying agencies from Politicians who are either victims or victors, to Distributors and Dealers keeping track of Republic is now part of the news.
But will the way Republic is run going to depend on how it’s owned? After all whether, as Arnab insists he owns 51% of equity or whether the 15 other investors have the clout to keep him on the straight and narrow is not yet known. Investors who actually put money know a lot more than you and me. They are painfully cognizant of the various factors of media success, the loneliness of one and the reliability of Ego, cloaked even if it may be, in a bloated value statement.
Are people waiting and panting to hear just what they have heard before? Or do they want something totally new? Are English-watching news junkies riveted by a raucous circus or have the wannabes who sprung up after, cured them of bad taste?
Are there actually new programming formats that haven’t been tried before? Perhaps there are and perhaps some may be proprietary or imported too.
But for now just lie back and enjoy the wait for the IPL to start when the fun on TV may really be multiplied by the Republic. Because at the end of the day it’s going to be just numbers that matter. In TV it’s eventually all a TRP game!
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