Top Band, Bottom scroll, News Ticker, side graphic plate, astons, subtitling… there can be multiple written text on the screen. Many channels use all the bands reducing the space available for the visuals. Is it okay to reduce the moving visuals to a small square? Will more text mean quicker comprehension of the story?
Those who vouch for having more visuals to tell a story will definitely say lesser text is better. But channels such as CNBC which depend on figures and graphs will probably support more text. There is no straight answer on what is better. Of course some story content may demand more texts and graphs. But what is the justification for using all the bands for normal news stories. Shouldn’t the production team look for more visuals to tell the story instead of text on screen.
Before we go further, let us take a quick look at what some of the Indian channels are doing currently. Times Now and Headlines Today at this point of time (as I write the blog post) believe in using multiple bands. These include – Top Band, separate band for Breaking and Top News, Bands to support current story or tease an upcoming story / programme. A scroll to give gist of a few top stories of the day. Of course more graphics and subtitles may be used if required. A few more channels in India are following the same pattern. While others like News X use a single scroll and avoid the other graphic bands.
Foreign Channels such as BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera are currently using just a single scroll concentrating on the top news.
I like the single scroll as it gives scope for using visuals in a better way. However, one cannot pass judgement on what is better. After all, for some of the channels the use of multiple bands is helping them attract more viewers.
Many viewers want to know everything as news breaks. They believe the bands would probably have all the information they are looking for. In such a scenario, the bands prove very helpful in getting better TRP.
So even as there are arguments and counter arguments for use of multiple bands, selling a news story as Breaking News or Flash News is bound to stay for some time to come…. irrespective of whether they actually are worth to be termed so.