'Cluttered TV news screens making news incomprehensible' | delhi | Hindustan Times
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'Cluttered TV news screens making news incomprehensible'

delhi Updated: May 13, 2011 03:01 IST
Sanjib Kr Baruah
Sanjib Kr Baruah
Hindustan Times
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The increasing clutter in the TV news bulletin screen space is making content more and more incomprehensible, a study by the Centre for Media Studies has indicated.

“On the average, there are five points of information or elements -- while the logo and the anchor are usually the stable and common information elements, the other three are two moving scrolls, usually at the bottom of the screen and an additional box of information that is generally some score or promotion or even and advertisement,” the study by the media think tank has found out.

The ongoing study has covered 77 news and current affairs channels across 11 languages (carried by DTH networks) -- including six business channels -- leaving out just the ones that are either relatively new or local or not available on DTH.

“The news screen is getting so cluttered that it is getting increasingly difficult to find the content. Comprehension has gone in for a beating as many viewers are simply unable to process it all,” said Dr N Bhaskara Rao, director, CMS.

A lot of TV graphics now in use are also fundamentally misleading. For instance, ‘Breaking News’, ‘Just In’, ‘News Flash’, etc even when the information is several hours old, or flashing ‘exclusive’ when the news byte is from a press conference, is causing a decline in the relevance of news bulletins.

“Thanks to proliferation of news channels and their style and priority of presentation, newspapers have bettered their credibility, readership and even circulation. This phenomenon is unique in India as nowhere else,” said Rao.

With 24-hour news channels proliferating across languages in the country, the presentation and layout of the screen space has become increasingly relevant and critical for providing information and to attract more viewers.

While intense competition in presenting news in India had brought in possibilities of more experimentation and innovations, TV channels are increasingly falling into a ‘TRP trap’ leading to a tendency to follow a similar format and pattern of using the screen, the study has said.