Television

×

NDTV looks to Profit at CNBC TV18's expense

MUMBAI: Buckle up for the big fight. Monday on, the next big battle in the news channel space will be truly joined. 17 January is when NDTV's business channel Profit officially starts beaming into Indian homes, taking head on the tried and tested CNBC TV18.

With the proposed Times Group channel still another six months away, as per the timeline given by company officials, it is CNBC TV18 and Profit that will constitute the main drawcard as far as the business news slugfest is concerned.

And while CNBC TV18's sibling Awaaz, touted as India's first 'consumer channel in Hindi', got off the blocks earlier (it launched Thursday, 13 January), one point that promoter Dr Prannoy Roy and co will draw on is that the language differentiation ensures that there is no real face-off between Awaaz and Profit. Still, what Awaaz does is that clubbed with CNBC-TV18, it will allow promoter Raghav Bahl to aggregate audiences in English as well as Hindi target segments.

Bahl's aim is to widen audience reach through Awaaz, a Hindi channel with focus on news relating to investment, saving and spending decisions of the middle class. Says CNBC-TV18 chief executive officer Haresh Chawla, "CNBC targets the corporates, while Aawaz is positioned as a channel for the consumers."

In fact, just as CNBC TV18 enjoyed five years of undisputed leadership, Awaaz for the present at least, looks like it will enjoy a similar free run. And this despite it being 45+ days since Zee Telefilms launched its business news channel Zee Biz. The problem for Zee Biz from the start has been that it has existed on the fringes with no adequate push from the company.

And it Zee Biz faces an even more daunting situation now with the arrival of Awaaz. A rather ironic point of note is that both Awaaz and Zee biz will constitute a part of the Zee-Turner distribution platform's new channel bouquet that also includes HBO, Pogo and VH1.

As for Profit and CNBC TV18, both channels are harping on two things - quality and unique differentiating programmes.

"We will bank on NDTV's credibility, and the image and strength of our two existing channels. Besides, we are introducing some driver programmes which we can't reveal now," says NDTV Media CEO Raj Nayak. It will be on the weekends and "traditional prime time" that these programme differentiators will come into play. Lifestyle, food, books and art shows, international programming hosted by Indians… these will constitute the infotainment part of the channel's offering.

Having said that, as far as the business prime time from 9 am to 5 pm (which is when the stock markets are on) is concerned, neither will have much by way of differentiators to offer. Says a source in NDTV, "In the prime time space, there is very little opportunity to do anything dramatically different. It will be a straight apples for apples fight. It will all boil down to whose apples look and taste better."

One area where NDTV hopes it will have an edge over CNBC is on breaking news. It believes that its much wider network of reporters that are in place nationwide will make a critical difference as far as business news gathering is concerned. Whether this premise holds true will of course be known in due course.

And what of the Times business channel proposition? While channel executives remain close-lipped about the channel's positioning, it will be interesting to see if it wants to compete at all within the narrow space of a CNBC-TV18 or NDTV Profit. That it will have the highest quotient of non business news in its content offering among the three is more than likely. Could it turn out looking almost like what NDTV 24x7 is currently but with a far heavier skew towards business. That is not too far fetched a possibility.

FUTURE PERFECT?

Just why are so many channels getting into financial TV news? Competition will grow the market, says Nayak. "Being a monopoly player, CNBC-TV18 had limitations in expanding the market for business news. We expect the entry of new players will grow this segment to Rs 1 billion within the first year."

Agrees Chawla: "We fought the war alone for five years. Competition will help business channels emerge as a category. There will be fight for share, but the market will also grow and we can charge premium on advertising rates," he says.

Competition, in fact, fuelled growth in the entire news channel business. When Star News was the only private news channel, the segment was a small revenue-earner. But the entry of Hindi news channel Aaj Tak and NDTV really exploded the market which today is estimated at Rs 5 billion.

PROFIT WILL HAVE HIGH VISIBILITY FROM DAY 1

According to sources in Sony-Discovery, Profit will launch with most of the top cities already signed up. He cites the example of the two biggest MSOs in Mumbai, InCableNet and Hathway, as having already signed on. To stress the point, the executive said Profit's distribution was comparable to the success Star One achieved right from Day 1 of launch.

Profit will be launching as a free-to-air channel

Though business contributes to a meagre amount in the news segment, it can open doors for subscription revenue. CNBC-TV18 earns Rs 180 million in its pay business. Not big money, but it allows NDTV to look ahead to going pay at some point.

One of the reasons given for NDTV's other two channels staying free-to-air has been that there is little room to manouvre since Hindi news space leader Aaj Tak as too its English sibling Headlines Today, are free. Going by the logic that the leader sets the agenda, NDTV could well Profit from going pay. But that is not going to happen anytime soon. As discussed earlier, Profit's free status will make it that much easier to push it up on the cable spectrum band. Something it needs to do at any cost because it is taking on a channel that is superbly positioned on most cable networks.

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/08/16/times_networkm.jpg?itok=K608WdhD
Times Network reduces Mirror Now MRP, launches new bouquet for English movie channels at Rs 10

MUMBAI: Times Network has revised the MRP of Mirror Now and introduced a new bouquet of three channels Romedy Now, Movies Now and MNX at Rs 10. According to the new Reference Interconnect Offer (RIO), the broadcaster has reduced the MRP of news channel Mirror Now to Rs 0.5 from Rs 2.

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/08/16/COLORS%20Tamil.jpg?itok=lBiR_c8M
COLORS Tamil extends fiction line-up from Monday to Saturda

On popular demand, COLORS Tamil has announced an extension in the telecast of its fiction line-up. Starting 17 August 2019, viewers can now catch their favorite show from Monday to Saturday, offering a perfect start to an entertaining weekend packed with action, drama and more.

Television TV Channels GECs
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/08/16/RK-Arora.jpg?itok=OgQepPCQ
iTV Network appoints R K Arora as director - strategy and planning

Noida: In an announcement made on Friday by iTV Network, R K Arora joins as director - strategy and planning. Arora has a wealth of leadership experience of around two-and-a-half decades in the news broadcasting, spanning the entire spectrum from strategic vision and planning to execution. He has a...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/08/16/itv_net.jpg?itok=APVBlEN7
iTV Network gives additional charge to Varun Kohli, strengthens senior management team

MUMBAI: iTV Network on Friday announced strengthening its senior management team with CEO Varun Kohli being handed additional responsibility for print companies. Kohli is currently handling India News, NewsX, digital assets and is providing strategic direction, leading teams and strengthening...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/08/16/Star%20Sports.jpg?itok=qPNmXLWL
Announcement of Indian men's cricket team coach at 6PM today on Star Sports

Star Sports, India’s leading broadcaster and the ‘Home of Cricket’ to telecast the big and official announcement of the coach of the Indian Men’s Cricket Team today at 6PM on a special programming show ‘Follow the Blues LIVE’ on Star Sports 1 SD/HD. The segment on the show will witness the...

Television TV Channels Sports
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/08/16/TED%20Talks.jpg?itok=c8e0-tdc
Star India distributes eco-friendly flags on account of India's 73rd Independence Day!

In an encouraging and positive endeavour towards a greener India, Star India has distributed eco-friendly National flags which have been sourced from 21Fools. With a novelty in thought, these flags are made out of waste cotton and are embedded with marigold seeds.

Television TV Channels GECs
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/08/16/Shemaroo_New_Logo.jpg?itok=Nw_eSngf
Shemaroo Entertainment brings devotees closer to Lalbaugcha Raja

Shemaroo Entertainment Limited, India’s leading content powerhouse, has acquired rights for the live feed of one of the most popular Ganpati Mandals of Maharashtra-“LALBAUGCHA RAJA” for Mobile apps, Internet and DTH platforms.

Television Production House Online Content
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/08/16/Viacom-18.jpg?itok=7XCv0n7G
This Independence Day, Viacom18 celebrates many facets of freedom for Indians

India’s youngest and fastest growing media and entertainment network, Viacom18 celebrated the country’s 73rd Independence Day with a host of integrated campaigns that celebrated the spirit of today’s India and what independence means to its citizens.

Television TV Channels Viewership
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/08/16/fat.jpg?itok=lCT_SieO
Insight TV Announces Co-Production with VICE Studios for Streetkings in Jail

Insight TV, the world’s leading 4K UHD HDR broadcaster and producer of native UHD content, is announcing details of its gritty new series Streetkings in Jail, a co-production with VICE Studios, the production company from VICE. Featuring 4 x 44 minute episodes, Streetkings in Jail will launch on...

Television Production House Fiction

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories