Controversial news channel NDTV today announced that it was awarded ‘India’s most trusted news broadcaster 2019 award’.
— NDTV (@ndtv) August 11, 2019
The ‘award’ was signed by one Hemant Kaushik, Chairman and CEO of USA TV News Channel and the award was given by one ‘International Brand Consulting Corporation, USA’. NDTV co-founder Prannoy Roy too congratulated his team for the ‘major award’ in a world suffering from ‘trust-deficit’.
Many many congratulations to the entire NDTV team – you make us so proud … this is a major award in a world suffering from trust-deficit. https://t.co/KvEJcqeBSX
— Prannoy Roy (@PrannoyRoyNDTV) August 11, 2019
However, Twitterati mocked him, and not only for the tax evasion and corruption cases Roy and his wife Radhika are facing.
LOL!…#HemantKaushik wala award??…jaraa congratulate karne se pehle uss bande ka TL toh scroll kiyaa karo .. Feels great to see you celebrating such good for nothing awards.. tchtchtch https://t.co/BKqfydQhu9
— radha raju (@radharaju18) August 11, 2019
Looks like Prannoy Roy went scouting for a PR push and given his funding problems could not afford anything better than a seedy award. ? https://t.co/jmlHsvoanb
— Divya (@divya_16_) August 11, 2019
Considering we have hardly ever heard of Hemant Kaushik and his firm which NDTV is wearing like a badge of honour when their company is under a radar for alleged tax evasion, we looked it up a little.
Here is what we found.
On the professional networking site LinkedIn, we saw Hemant Kaushik writes a testimonial for himself.
In his own testimonial he refers to himself as a famous media celebrity and boasts that the government had provided him police security and a ‘VIP status with the blue light cars’. While it is not mentioned which country provided him police security and the ‘VIP status’, we are not quite sure what ‘blue light cards’ mean. (This is the man who has signed on the ‘major award’ NDTV is proud of receiving.)
He is a director in companies like ‘ONLINEMEDIA INDIA WORLD TV NEWS PRIVATE LIMITED’ (last balance sheet filed with MCA on 31st March, 2018), ‘BERKSHIRE MEDIA PRIVATE LIMITED) (incorporated on 30th July 2018) and IBC INFOMEDIA PRIVATE LIMITED (the one which actually gave away the award). This company was incorporated on 2nd February 2015.
Its website says that the company provides ‘brand acquisition, brand partnership, brand licensing and brand extension and brand and product protection’ services. On its page, it only has pictures of the awards they have given away to all the brands over last 4 years. Its sister company ‘Berkshire Media Private Company’ is also self-proclaimed ‘multinational brand consulting and market research firm’ which is in the business of giving away brand awards regularly.
In a short span, a lot of Indian brands have been given away best brand award either by IBC or by its sister firms. Essentially, one of the ways the IBC helps their client companies in ‘building brand value’ is giving away award, though which they could fuel their growth. The company on its website says, “While any winner of Business & Service Excellence is bound to benefit in terms of growth in business, it largely depends upon how you utilize this achievement. You would surely appreciate that the best of tools are a waste in the hands of someone who doesn’t know how to use them. This will be true for those very few winners who do not put enough thought into effectively marketing this unique achievement of theirs and just wish that the achievement will work some sort of magic! Those having the right marketing acumen will be able to take immense advantage of being a winner of Business & Service Excellence and should be able to enhance their own market share and leave their competition miles behind without too much of an effort.”
Clearly, it is all up to NDTV on how they use the prestigious award they just received. For organising the events or ‘award shows’ the IBC/Berkshire media/other sister companies, seek sponsorship, and the winners get ‘certificate’ and ‘trophies’. These events are held in 5-star hotels, perhaps to lend credibility to events.
While doing a bit of digging, we came across this April 2015 article. Online publication ‘Afternoon Voice’ had reportedly received an email stating that they had been selected as “India’s No.1 Brands Award 2014”. The award ceremony was to be held in Hyatt Regency, Mumbai and the Editor was asked to pay Rs. 50,000 registration fee, which all winners have to pay. Afternoon Voice’s Vaidehi had reached out to Kaushik who in turn asked her to ask organisations to attend the award function, free of cost.
It gets more bizarre. Vaidehi states that she reached out to other awardees on the list on the website of ‘No. 1 Brand Award’ and no one had even heard of him. In fact, as per Vaidehi, many of these organisations accused Hemant Kaushik of using their logos without seeking permission.
We could not find any more details on Hemant Kaushik anywhere else except for the fact that he is perhaps just too fond of giving away awards to various brands. There does not seem to be any criteria for these awards, how are nominations done, who forms the jury. And who is Hemant Kaushik? There are also no covereage of the awards given on the mainstream media, even on business media.
NDTV just celebrated receiving award from a completely unknown organisation which exists only to give out awards to brands so that they can build credibility and show off they have received ‘best’ awards.
With dwindling viewership, desperate times have called for desperate measures.