News channels’ budget special

MUMBAI: Will Arun Jaitley successfully meet the expectations of the common man or are the aspirations too high? Will we get new schools and colleges? Will the number of AIMS increase? What will happen to health security? Will medical treatments become more affordable? Will there be any rationalization of taxation?

The Ministry of Finance will be under the spotlight in the coming days as the country seeks answers to many such questions.

Indiantelevision.com takes the opportunity to throw a set of questions to various news channels on their plans and offerings to meet viewer’s aspirations.

ET Now

The theme for Budget 2015 for the channel is Budget for Achhe Din. “This being the first full-fledged budget from Modi government, the common man’s and various stakeholders’ expectations for achhe din are really high and this perhaps would be the chance for the government to testify the promises made,” says ET Now managing editor R Sridharan.

With the budget being a highly anticipated event, news channels are gearing to grab as much attention as possible. ET Now is content with the advertiser response. “The response has been phenomenal and we have brought on-board the maximum (and exclusive) budget sponsors within our category. Besides, we have sold out complete inventory on FCT and non FCT elements during budget week and budget day,” adds channels spokesperson .

Budget also tests the editorial prowess. “All stakeholders of the budget viz. India Inc., market participants, traders, retail investors and the common man would largely depend on us to bring the fastest news updates, analysis, reactions and verdict on the budget,” he says.

ET Now is looking at providing the most comprehensive and decisive analysis on budget to its viewers. “Every year our budget verdict is closely watched. This year we have a power packed line-up of pre-budget programming named Budget Marathon all through the budget week, which will consist of budget debates, a daily call-in show on personal finance and special editions of our extremely popular show market makers,” he informs.

So why should one tune into ET Now? Sridharan says, “The sheer depth and expertise of ET Now’s budget coverage will be unmatched as compared to any other English business news channel. Foremost economist Swaminathan Aiyar and Motilal Oswal joint managing director Raamdeo Agrawal will lead ET Now’s programming on budget day. Aiyar, is the most respected economic expert in India who has been analysing budgets for more than 45 years now. In addition to our seasoned anchors, ace fund manager Punita Kumar Sinha will also be part of our stellar line up of experts. With the combined might of these three, the viewers will gain tremendous insights and knowledge ranging from economy, markets, finance and investments.”

“Each of our experts is a stalwart in his or her area. Be it institutional investors or retail investors, market participants look to our panel to get the most decisive analysis of budget proposals. We have the most authoritative voices on the channel,” he informs.

NDTV Network

NDTV, as part of its budget special, will throw all the key questions to find out if the Narendra Modi led government will be able to live up to the expectations of 1.25 billion Indians.

The channel, through its budget programming, will find out if the growth stimulus is pro-subsidy or pro-investment?

NDTV senior vice president corporate affairs and senior editor real estate Manisha Natarajan says that the first full budget will be the Modi government’s first real acid test. “Join NDTV as we balance the numbers and find out how Budget 2015 affects you,” she says.

The programming of the 24 hours English news channel NDTV 24/7 during budget will be as follows:

Pre-Budget programmes

23 and 24 February: Budget ADDA at 5:30 pm. In the build up to the Union Budget, Shweta Rajpal Kohli will be joined by the captains of the industry to outline their wishlist for the first proper budget of the Narendra Modi government.

26 February: Rail Budget Live (12–1 pm): The rail budget presentation will be followed by analysis with railway industry experts and policy makers.

27 February: Economic Survey Special (9-10 pm). Senior economists, industry voices and policy makers debate and discuss the Economic Survey 2015.

28 February: Union Budget 2015. Industry and political voices, policy makers and economists join Prannoy Roy and Shweta Rajpal Kohli from 9 am to 3 pm to look at the Narendra Modi government’s first budget.

9-11 am: Pre-Budget expectations and analysis

11 am – 1 pm: Budget Speech Live from Parliament

1-3 pm: Post Budget analysis

The scheduling of the network’s business channel NDTV Profit is as follows:

Betting on the Budget: Presented by Prashant Nair, the viewer will get insights into the expectations of the financial markets from the Union Budget. The show will have top-notch market participants who will discuss and debate what the budget can do for the economy and of course for the financial markets.

B-School Budget: Moderated by Shweta Rajpal Kohli, in this show young business students talk about their perceptions and understanding of the budget and how they might perhaps do it differently.

Budget ADDA: In the build up to the Union Budget, captains of industry outline their wishlist for the first proper budget of the Narendra Modi government. The show will be anchored by Shweta Rajpal Kohli.

Programming on Budget Day 

Name - Union Budget 2015

Anchors - Vikram Chandra and Prashant Nair

Timing - 8 am to 5 pm 

Pre Analysis - 8 am to 11 am 

Budget Speech - 11 am to 1 pm 

Post speech analysis - 1 pm to 5 pm 

News X

When queried about its special coverage for budget 2015, NewsX editor in chief Rahul Shivshankar says, “NewsX has a new mission for the new NDA government for their first budget - Mission 10 per cent. This is also our branding for the coverage, which will all dovetail into this special theme- how to attain double digit growth for India.”

NewsX will be breaking the mould with a new virtual gfx (graphics) technology to present the big numbers in the budget.

Talking about the motto of News X, Shivshankar says, “We believe that one of our primary functions is to ensure that the voice of the common person reaches the newsmakers. We are doing a series of roundtables with experts and opinion makers which will be suggestive of what the government focus for the budget should be.”

During the budget, viewers tune in to a channel to follow the editorial content. The channel with better content garners more viewership. “NewsX has a detailed roll out plan for budget programming. From 19-27 February, our programming Your Budget, Your Expectations would highlight the expectations of the common person from the FM and PM. From 21-25 February on our budget show Mission 10 per cent at prime time, we will debate on issues like growth, fiscal deficit, tax, growth and aspirations of the youth with eminent panel of experts. From 27-28 February our prime focus will be on the political and economic implications of the Rail Budget and Union budget including Economic Survey. Overall, our editorial focus will be to be non jargonistic, to simplify the numbers and ensure the coverage is detailed yet tailored to the common person,” he informs.

The panel of experts is a very important part of any presentation and the NewsX panel of experts will have former advisor to PMO Subhashish Gangopadhyay, Vivian Fernandes, former cabinet secretary TSR Subramanian, economist BB Bhattacharya, founder Air Deccan/Industrialist Captain Gopinath, senior journalist MK Venu, convener economic cell BJP PN Vijay, direct tax expert KPMG Prashant Kapoor and personal tax expert KPMG Ashish Gupta.

When asked why should people choose NewsX over others Shivshankar replies, “For clarity. It's as simple as that. We put the viewer before the numbers.”

Times Now

Times Network’s 24 hours news channel Times Now has named its special coverage Super Budget in concurrence with the theme that this budget will perhaps be a kick-starter for the next phase of growth.

Super Budget 2015 will be a congregation of debate shows, interviews, analysis and discussions with Times Now editor in chief Arnab Goswami and economists like Omkar Goswami, Lord Meghnad Desai, Dr. Rajeev Kumar and Sunil Alagh who will discuss issues regarding the common man’s expectations from the budget 2015,” says a Times Now spokesperson.

The channel is known for its innovative adaptations, as during every special presentation it comes with a new technical innovation. The budget will be another effort to showcase innovate formats both in terms of technology and editorial styles.

When questioned about the impact of budget presentation in news channels, the spokesperson asserts, “The budget is a crucial exercise that plays a key role in determining not just the economy but also impacting our lives. Viewers watch news channels for information around the budget, how the subject matter experts are reacting to the budget and how the budget will impact our life. Times Now tries to simplify the budget by analyzing it in simple terms bereft of jargons.”

The channel will continue its strategy of bringing the budget to its viewers in a simple and understandable form. “We will be analysing how the budget will impact our daily lives and the impact it will have on corporate and the markets. With a range of experts from industry the analysis is aimed to be sharp and fast with path breaking graphics to support the same,” he adds.

With all the news channels having more or less the same presentation, it is highly challenging to emerge as viewer’s choice. “In all budgets, Times Now has been the choice of viewers. We have managed to garner record shares in each budget. With a team that comprises two of India’s best voices on economics in Dr. Omkar Goswami and Lord Meghnad Desai, the channel promises to deliver sharp analysis. Additionally experts like Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Sunil Alagh and Sanjeev Sanyal will provide industry viewpoints to the budget. All this packaged in an interesting format makes for exciting viewing,” reiterates the spokesperson.

Ad rate hike

According to media buyers, the news channels will see a minimum hike of 50 per cent in the ad rate. A media executive says, “Budget is one of the major event for news channels and they prepare special marketing campaigns for it so that brands come and endorse.”

Another executive from the media planning community adds on condition of anonymity, “The hike in ad rate is directly proportional to content in store. Better content delivered by prominent dignitaries grabs more attention and hence the channel get better price for their ad slots.”

Though economic reform is a 365 days agenda, the general budget plays a vital role in the economic condition of the country. It remains to be seen if budget 2015 takes India, which was recognised as ‘fragile five’ couple of years back, one step forward towards the fantastic or favourite five in global economy.

(The channels are listed in alphabetical order and not on the basis of viewership ratings or accolades.)  

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