Coming from the house of Times Global Broadcasting Company Ltd (TGBCL), business news channel ET Now has been one of the most awaited launches of the year. The Group was eyeing the March deadline to launch the channel, but after all the wait, it was June 17, 2009 when ET Now hit at least some of the screens in India.
ET Now officials are yet not offering any comments on the channel, but sources close to the scene inform that the channel officials are working on putting its distribution in place.
Even though ET Now has been on the priority list of Bennett, Coleman and Company Ltd (BCCL) for a while, the company has adopted the soft launch route for the channel. Perhaps the only “announcement” was the change in the ET Now creatives that were seen on The Economic Times masthead on June 17, 2009, where from just a logo unit that was seen on the previous days that said ‘Coming Soon’, the new copy read ‘Now the power of knowledge on your screens’.
BCCL has been very clear on testing the convergence model for ET Now. An announcement that the company had made in Jan 2009, said: “Rahul Joshi will take hands-on charge of ET TV (officially named as ET Now) and lead the editorial effort across platforms, backed by an enabling structure to help ET TV and ET Online attain leadership positions. Consistent with this approach, on the Marketing side, Neeti Chopra will coordinate all brand activities for ET across print, television and online and bring Group synergies into play.”
Even though various industry experts had challenged the convergence model stating that print and television have to be treated differently, it appears that ET is giving the model its best shot. A significant number of reports that were seen on ET Now’s launch day, also made it to the print edition of The Economic Times subtly informing readers that ET Now had broken the news the previous day. This even included an interview with Economist Nouriel Roubini.
The content line-up begins with the 7 am and 8 am bands airing the morning news, which leads into the 9 am to 4 pm market band called Markets Now. This is divided into various sub-segments with ‘Opening shots’ and ‘Closing shots’. ET Now is following the news-oriented format as seen in ET’s print version. Some of the reports on the day were on budget issues, general policies and even some offbeat reports like the marching orders given to Kolkata Knight Riders’ coach.
The channel then has a show on commodities called ‘Garam Masala’, followed by Special global biz reports making way for the 9 pm-10 pm marquee flagship band, which would have news from all domains including corporate, markets and business amongst others. ET Now would also have a feature show every week, and the convergence model is evident there as well. For instance, ET releases the Brand Equity supplement every Wednesday, and there would be a show on the channel called ‘Brand Equity’ every Wednesday too.
The channel at present has a simple clean look with barely any clutter. It already has a few advertisers such as the Reliance ADA Group and Tata amongst others. Soft launch or full-fledged, the ratings ticker has begun for ET Now. It is now only a matter of days before the channel would be compared with its competitors in the genre, and when the competition is between the likes of BCCL and Network18, this is one comparison that the whole industry would be waiting for.