April 15, 2010

A Village Of Twins

Hello are you Krishnan? No I am Ramesh, Krishnan's brother. Hi Gopanna how are you. Sorry I am Shaju, Gopanna's younger brother. Everytime I try to greet a person in this small but green village in Kerala – it turns out to be other person.
Turn a corner in Kodinhi village, and if you have seen one child you will probably run into its double soon after. In this community of 2,000 families there are 250 sets of twins. In 2008 alone, of the 300 families who had children, 15 pairs were born, a rate at least six times higher than the average for the country. India has one of the lowest twinning rates in the world, but Kodinhi is close to the top of the global twinning league.
Krishnan Sribiju, a doctor at the Tirurangadi Taluk hospital, just outside the village, said the number of twins born was increasing year by year. In the past five years, up to 60 pairs had been born, and the 250 pairs who had been registered understated the true total.
The high number of children with indistinguishable features makes life difficult for teachers. Abhi, 16, standing beside his brother, said: "I comb my hair to the right and he combs his hair to the left. I also have a mark on my neck. Apart from these differences there is nothing else."
"It's an amazing phenomenon to see a medical marvel occurring in such a localised place where the people are not exposed to any kinds of harmful drugs or harmful chemicals," said lKrishnan Sribiju who is studying the twin phenomenon.
Pathummakutty and Kunhipathutty, 65, are the oldest surviving twins in the village, with both only having a single name like many people in the village.
The youngest are Rifa Ayesha and Ritha Ayesha, born June 10.
Pathummakutty said being a twin was not always easy. She recalls how her family struggled financially when she was a child but laughs about the many times people would get mixed up between her and her twin sister.
At the local school, 15-year-old Salmabi said teachers often confused her for her twin sister and she was once reprimanded for something that her twin did.
"It happens all the time," the students pipe in chorus.
Sribiju said scientists were still trying to unravel the mystery of the high number of twin births, believing there must be something in the environment that is causing this such as something in the water.
Some locals also believe it is to do with the water as Kodinji is surrounded by water in the fields and during the monsoon season it becomes inaccessible due to heavy rains.
Most of the twins are non-identical, which means that the mothers are producing extra eggs that are fertilised at the same time. Identical twins develop from a single embryo that splits after fertilisation.
The National Geographic is planning an hour-long documentary with a working title ‘Twin Town.’ Paul Nelson, producer-director of the documentary, says it will be a genuine attempt to get to the bottom of the matter.

April 5, 2010

TV9 Sweeps NT awards in Delhi

I was one of the panelist for Indiantelevision.com seminar on Telugu News Industry. After the discussion - indiantelevision NT awards were held where TV9 swept 12 awards.
Below is an article published in www.indiantelevision.com about the panel discussion I participated.

Telugu TV news market needs to consolidate amid clutter
Indiantelevision.com Team
(30 March 2009 1:20 pm)

NEW DELHI: Consolidation is the only way forward to beat the clutter in the Telugu news channel space, senior industry experts said.

With 12 Telugu channels crowding the marketplace and jostling for a share of the Rs 1 billion ad market, there can be space for only the top three players in the long run. Distribution costs are also wreaking havoc as politicians and real estate owners are busy launching news channels.

“The news consumption in Andhra Pradesh is much higher as the state witnessed many events in 2009. A lot of infrastructure and political players are pumping money which can create ripples in the market. TV9, however, sits pretty with an almost 50 per cent share in revenues,” said TV9 Editor - Input Dinesh Akula, while speaking at the NT Awards summit.

The session, "The Telugu News Titans," was moderated by Indiantelevision.com founder and Editor-in-Chief Anil Wanvari.

Having invested Rs 1 billion in setting up the infrastructur (including HD), Saakshi TV will take longer to break even. Saakshi TV marketing director Rani Reddy, however, said there is no political affiliation and the news operations is run like an independent business. Incidentally, Saakshi TV comes from the house of Saakshi Telugu daily owned by YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, son of former chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy.

“We launched during recession and we came with our eyes open. We invested on HD because we wanted to be ready for the future. The newspaper business is run as a profitable venture. We have the same approach in the TV news segment,” said Rani Reddy.

Talking about the slowdown and non-serious players in the market, HMTV’s Editor-in-Chief K Ramchandran Murthy accepted that they had not anticipated the market would get so cluttered. "We are in the serious news business and staying away from any type of sensationalism. We believe that will lead to our success," he said.

On the content front, Zee 24 Ghantalu channel head Shailesh Reddy said that as the Telugu industry is mainly cinema and entertainment driven, the viewer wants to watch news in a movie style format. “When there are so many players, you have to do more value addition. Let the viewer decide if it is news in entertaining format or sensationalism,” he said.

Akula raised the concern that there are copycats in the market and there is no innovation. “Some players just copy the graphics and tickers even. What can you do? We need training centres to teach journalism. Lots of people with no understanding have become journalists overnight and are getting obscene salaries,” he pointed out.

Distribution is a big hindrance. Said Murthy, "Some MSOs are even dictating content. They threaten to block the channel if you show any news against their political connections."

THE LINK: http://www.indiantelevision.com/headlines/y2k10/mar/mar220.php