According to many, the Indian business news space barely has any competition. The year 2009 has seen some serious efforts from various players to dabble and grow in the English business news space. This included Bloomberg’s partnership with UTV to create Bloomberg UTV and the launch of ET Now from the Bennett, Coleman and Company Ltd (BCCL) stable. Even when NDTV Profit is thrown in the mix along with the newcomers, as yet no one has made much dent on CNBC-TV18’s leadership position in the genre.
On December 7, 2009, CNBC-TV18 celebrates the completion of a decade in the Indian broadcasting space and the channel has planned various initiatives to mark this milestone. This also includes a roadblock on the day, at 9 PM, when all Network18 channels, including CNBC Awaaz, CNN-IBN, IBN 7, IBN Lokmat, MTV, VH1, Nick, Colors and Homeshop18 would air a special message from CNBC-TV18 for all viewers.
Genre dominance in the last 10 years
CNBC-TV18 was the first 24 hours English business news channel in India. NDTV Profit was the next and the genre saw UTV launch business news channel UTVi in 2008. In 2009, UTVi, that was otherwise the bottom player in the genre, showed promise with the deal with Bloomberg and ET Now also started off on a positive note. TAM Media Research shows that in the business news target of CS AB M 25+, CNBC TV18 has stayed on top of the charts with a significant distance since 2005.
Andy Lack, CEO, Bloomberg Multimedia, had said in a conversation with exchange4media, CNBC TV18 is a leader by miles in the genre and no channel has been able to make any dent in that position. However, Lack had also said that the genre at present saw miniscule numbers and when the margin of playing was that low, the numbers made only so much difference.
Media agency heads in India also opine on similar lines. Manas Mishra, Country Head, Mudra Connext, observed that while CNBC TV18 had grown significantly in stature, it had grown moderately in reach after the initial phase of increase. He said, “Hindi biz news took over from where English biz news plateaud.”
MPG’s Executive Director North, Mohit Joshi, said, “Competition is not always bad, at one end it might have fragmented the genre viewership, at the same time it has also forced the players to improve and innovate content over time. I would not want to evaluate this genre on numbers as they don’t speak too much, what I would say is that CNBC TV 18 has stayed top of mid and top of discussion over the years – which is a big achievement.”
Mishra also said that dominance was about reinventing oneself to stay relevant and Maxus’ GM - North, Mausumi Kar, is of the opinion that CNBC-TV18 has managed to do that. Kar said, “CNBC-TV18 pioneered the concept of business news in India. From being seen largely as the barometer of the stock market it is seen as expert on large and small economic issues.”
She added, “Competitive pressure is not the only factor that affects performance of a channel, irrespective of the genre. Distribution, network strength, content and in the case of news channels credibility of substance and responsible reporting are as important. CNBC-TV18 has played on its strengths and not been caught napping so it continues to lead.”
A series of firsts since 1999
CNBC was launched in 1999 as CNBC India and was later re-christened to CNBC-TV18. Amongst its many firsts in the last 10 years, is that the channel was the first to beam live international business news programming into the country and the first to show live opening of global exchanges, across the world, be it US, Europe or Asia.
In the last decade, CNBC-TV18 has instituted over 10 national industry focussed awards, including the flagship leadership benchmark ‘India Business Leader Awards’. CNBC-TV18 was the first channel to have a dedicated show towards corporate law in India ‘The Firm’, and the channel’s ‘Young Turks’ is one of India’s first dedicated and longest running shows focusing on young entrepreneurs.
Another noteworthy initiative of the channel is the ‘Emerging India Awards’, which is a platform for engaging Indian SMEs. The ‘Emerging India Award’ is listed in the Limca Book of Records for receiving the highest number of entries for any business award in the country till date.
CNBC-TV18 also runs a customised innovation and solutions business division, Focus that reaches out to multiple constituencies including corporates, retail investors, investment community, homemakers, students and so on across major cities and towns in India.
(With additional inputs by Nitin Pandey)