Soundarya, Kannada’s first AI news presenter launched by 24/7 Kannada news channel Power TV. | Photo Credit: Power TV/YouTube
Soundarya, the first AI news anchor in Kannada, made her debut on Power TV, a 24/7 Kannada news channel, on July 11, 2023. Describing herself as a “robot anchor,” Soundarya discussed the impact of AI on the TV news industry during her inaugural news show. She highlighted the prevalence of robot anchors on North Indian news channels and expressed excitement about being South India’s first-ever robot news anchor through Power TV.
Although initially introduced as “South India’s first AI anchor,” Power TV later clarified Soundarya’s distinction as “Kannada’s first AI news anchor” after social media users pointed out similar experiments by Malayalam and Telugu news channels.
Following Power TV’s introduction of Soundarya, another Kannada news channel called News First Kannada also launched an AI-assisted anchor named Maya.
The emergence of AI in Kannada newsrooms mirrors a trend seen in regional Indian newsrooms, where AI-powered news anchors have been introduced. The India Today group unveiled Sana, the country’s first AI news presenter, for their Hindi channel, Aaj Tak, in March. Additionally, MediaOne TV, a Malayalam news channel, introduced a male AI news anchor in April. Most recently, Odia news channel OTV garnered attention for their AI newscaster Lisa, who delivered flawless presentations in both Odia and English.
While AI news anchors in India are still in the experimental phase, they have been primarily utilized for presenting short news bulletins, sometimes with voiceovers provided by human journalists that are then lip-synced by the AI presenters. However, concerns have been raised about the potential threat to human jobs posed by the introduction of artificial intelligence in newsrooms. It remains to be seen how AI news anchors will evolve and impact the industry in the future.