The recent launches of business news channels have received positive response from the industry. While the numbers for CNBC’s ‘Awaaz’ are still awaited given the commercial launch on January 29, 2005, Zee Business is finding its footing. And ‘NDTV Profit’ has given the industry something to talk about. Business news in India sure has a promising future.
“The business channels are filling the void of delivering the core TG for segments like finance etc.,” says Lakshmi Narsimhan, Central Trading Unit, GroupM. “Prior to these launches, these brands were available on general news channels due to lack of choice and we will increasingly see that change.”
According to TAM Media Research, for the CS 15+ TG, ‘NDTV Profit’ has increased its shares from 0.08 in its launch week to 0.16 in the Hindi speaking markets. The channel officials inform that it has a market share of 57.9 per cent, while ‘CNBC TV-18’ claims 42.1 per cent. Even in business hours, 9 am to 4 pm (pre-market hours, market hours and post-market hours), NDTV Profit manages a 57.9 per cent vis-à-vis CNBC TV-18’s 42.1 per cent.
Are the numbers sure as per expectations? “Given the background of NDTV’s experience in business news journalism and given our programming line-up, we had no doubt that the channel would deliver from day one. The equity of the NDTV brand, programming quality and the credibility of our journalists, backed by great production values and efficient distribution are the key factors that led to the channel’s success,” says Raj Nayak, CEO, NDTV Media.
According to industry experts, the business news segment is lucrative enough for two players at least. “However, due to their content speciality, what should be observed for these channels, is the core TG and on parameters like stickiness for this TG. The delivery is far higher than on general news channels,” says Narsimhan.
In the TG CS AB Male 15+, Profit is presently second only to CNBC TV-18. Where Profit stands at a channel share of 0.17, CNBC TV-18 is at 0.28. In business hours, 9 am to 4 pm (pre-market hours, market hours and post-market hours), Profit is 0.2 per cent vis-à-vis CNBC TV-18’s 0.64.
Commenting on this Nayak says, “I see no reason why only the male TG watch a business channel. Also why should it be a certain age group? Our primary objective is to reach as many people as possible interested in this genre. Television is all about maximising eyeballs and that’s what we are aiming to do.”
CNBC TV-18’s Sai Kumar has a similar point of view as far as growing the segment is concerned, though with a light difference. Says he, “CNBC TV-18 is India’s no.1 English news channel. This in itself indicates that business news is growing faster than general news.”
Substantiating his point, he refers to some comparative figures. For the male TG again, CNBC TV-18 all day channel shares are 0.52, 0.62, 0.36 and 0.28 vis-à-vis that of NDTV 24x7’s 0.32, 0.19, 0.35 and 0.22, placing the biz news channel over the general news channel. If the broader TG of CS 15+ is considered, Profit scores over CNBC TV –18 but the channel even beats elder sibling 24x7 in week 5.
Nayak says, “There will be definitely audience fragmentation, but the overall numbers will grow. At the end of the day what matters is to be the market leader in the genre that you are present in.”
Kumar says, “The life of channels right now is about viewership and on that parameter we have been consistent in our delivery. With housewives and students watching us, we have expanded the market substantially already. We are dominating the core TG with CNBC TV-18 and the challenge now is to grow the market further, which is where ‘Awaaz’ will play a key role in opening up newer markets. India means business.”
However, it wouldn’t be a surprise if other special interest channels, which are still on drawing boards, like that of crime etc, also stake a claim on viewers soon. Evidently, the Indian viewer does want to be informed.