NDTV 24x7 to sport more biz news

NEW DELHI: Its official and confirmed.

The Prannoy Roy family-controlled NDTV has decided to give CNBC TV 18 business channel some competition by ramping up business and economy related programming during the day time on NDTV 24x7. The change would be effected during the first quarter of 2004.

The time band that the English-language NDTV 24x7 is looking at doing so would be between 9 am and 5 pm. We would be increasing business-related programming on the English channel during day time in the next two to three months time, a NDTV source told

The reason behind the decision is that NDTV feels that, presently, there are several news breaks relating to business and economy during the day, which require extensive as well as intensive coverage. However, the source clarified that this programming strategy should not be construed as conversion of NDTV 24x7 into a business channel during the daytime or as a precursor to the launch of a full-fledged business channel in the near future.

We have seen that our existing business programming on the channel is quite popular and focussing on it more extensively would make sense, the source said. Even when this strategy is put in place, the general news bulletins would continue to be aired during a large part of the day.

Though this initiative would also mean coming up with newer business and economy programming, details of the new fare likely to be introduced are not yet forthcoming. A media analyst, however, opined that knowing Dr Prannoy Roys background in economics, it would be nave to presume that this game plan is being effected sans a viewership feedback, a definite strategy and well defined targets. Lot of thought process seems to have gone behind this proposed move, the analyst said.

What could have also prompted NDTV 24x7 to increase its business programming during the day is the bull run being experienced on the stock market, riding a buoyant Indian economy, for the past several months. When asked whether this experiment would also be carried out on NDTV 24x7s Hindi sibling, NDTV India, the company source said, It has to be seen how this change works out for the English channel before we start thinking of doing something similar on the Hindi channel.

On a jocular note, the source added, As they say, slowly, slowly catch the monkey.

NDTVs new programming strategy comes at a time when Television Eighteen Ltd, the majority Indian joint venture partner for the CNBC TV 18 channel, has publicly said it is working on starting a full-fledged Hindi business channel. In addition to this, the Subhash Chandra-promoted Zee Telefilms is still awaiting a final word from the government on its proposal, seeking uplink permission from the Indian government for its ZeeBiz channel. Not to mention the noises being made by the Dhoots-controlled Videocon group for the last one year on the proposed launch of a Hindi business channel.

The word on the capital markets street is also that NDTV, which is seeking to merge with itself a subsidiary, NDTV World, may make an announcement over the next few months about going public through a mega public issue.

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