If the General Elections 2004 were called India’s first live TV elections, a repeat performance by the television channels is on the cards for the forthcoming budget. All the different news channels are getting ready with hordes of programming goodies for the audience.
Says Sameer Ahluwalia, Head, Zee Business, “Our aim for the budget coverage is to present it in a simplified form for the common man. Our coverage will stretch from pre-budget to post-budget state. There is an interesting programme called ‘Budget Ki Class’ for common people who don’t have a background in economics. The main aim of these episodes will be to explain the meaning of technical terms like fiscal deficit, sensex, GDP etc to general public. Besides this, there will be special programmes focused on the repercussions of the budget on the common man. The appreciation and depreciation in the costs of various common utility items will also be reported at length.”
While Zee Business is busy doing up its bouquet of budget programming, others are not idle. To highlight the needs and aspirations of the general masses, Aaj Tak has introduced a special segment called ‘Sharmaji Ka Khandaan’. The show focuses on a real middle-class Delhi-based family. It is based on the interviews with the different members of the family to depict the aspirations and apprehensions of the commonest Indian middle-class family. “This unique concept would be our flagship budget programme on Aaj Tak,” says group spokesperson Rajesh Sheshadri. “We have a host of various other programmes to cover the budget from different aspects,” he adds.
Covering the budget for the first time, NDTV has also come up with its array of special programming initiatives. Raj Nayak, CEO, NDTV Media, says the budget programming has been done in such a manner that it caters to the various needs of all segments of audience. There are programmes serving information to the common man, corporates, economists, students etc. “A special run-up programme, titled Budget 24×7 is already on air from June 9. There will be a live coverage of the budget presentation. And, this will be followed by different programmes presenting the post-budget reactions and analysis,” says Nayak.
Promising the viewers an action-packed budget, Star News has decked up the special programming with shows like ‘Sapno Ka Saudagar’, featuring economist and columnist Swaminathan Iyer. As Keertan Adyanthaya, spokesperson, claims, from real-time spot reporting to extensive analysis – with all these initiatives, the channel is ready to deliver a complete picture of the budget to the audience.
Racing ahead with the different innovative programming strategies of various general interest news channels, business news channel CNBC-TV18 is also out to vie for attracting viewers. “From budget roundtables to interviews with corporate icons and analysis – each and every aspect is being taken care of,” says Haresh Chawla, CEO, CNBC-TV18. “Keeping in line with our philosophy of presenting information that viewers can profit from, the budget line-up digs deep inside to ascertain the real issues that are important to various constituencies – be it the individual tax payer; the corporate, different industry sectors or the small and medium enterprise. Our line-up also focuses on raising critical policy issues that need to be addressed, without losing sight of the key issue, which is implementation.”