The television business news conundrum

BENGALURU: There are two major Hindi Business News television channels in India – CNBC Awaaz and Zee Business. In 2017, until week 37 (Saturday, 9 September 2017 to Friday, 15 September 2017), CNBC Awaaz has been leading the genre in terms of viewership. Zee Business, despite it lower ratings, has viewership that almost equals the viewership of the top 5 English Business channels!

Here are some details – the combined viewership of the top 5 English Business News channels in week 37 of 2017 as per Broadcast Research Council of India (BARC) All India (U+R) : NCCS AB : Males 22+ Individuals was 1.411 million weekly impressions, with CNBC TV 18 leading with 0.652 million weekly impressions. It may be noted that among the five top English Business News channels is an HD channel – this is CNBC TV 18 Prime HD.

Compare this with the combined viewership of the two Hindi Business News channels -  4.194 million weekly impressions, with CNBC Awaz scoring a massive 3.029 million weekly impressions and Zee Business 1.165 million weekly impressions according to BARC data for Hindi Business News -HSM (U+R) : NCCS AB: Males 22+ Individuals.  Examination of BARC data for weeks 30 to 38 of 2017 reveals that CNBC TV 18 has been leading the English Business News channels, followed by the Times Groups ET Now at second place. 

BARC data for the only Gujarati Business channel in India – CNBC Bazar reveals that for some weeks, the channel has higher viewership in the HSM market than the third placed English Business News channel. On combining the channels ratings for the Gujarat and the Daman & Diu (D&D)and Dadra and Nagar Haveli (DNH) markets with its HSM ratings, CNBC Bazar’s ratings sometimes exceed the ratings of the second placed English Business News channel ET Now. Please refer to the chart below for week 38 of 2017 ratings of Business News channels:


Please refer to the chart below for comparison of the combined weekly ratings of the Hindi and the English Business News genre and CNBC Bazar. For CNBC Bazar also the TG is NCCS AB: Male 22+ Individuals.


On 5 June 2017, the Prannoy Roy headed NDTV Network took its English Business News channel NDTV Profit off air. The channel, which was earlier turned into a hybrid of business news and entertainment, became a full-time infotainment and entertainment channel with a new name NDTV Prime. Industry sources say that the reason for shutting the business news part of the channel was to cut costs and maximise the potential of entertainment content. It may be noted that the combined ratings of the English Business News channels in the charts above include the ratings of NDTV Profit/Prime, since BARC says that the channel has not informed it as yet about the changes in the genre. Arising from this, the actual combined ratings of the top 5 English Business News channels could be even lower.

Please refer to the table below for breakup of CNBC Bazar’s ratings


The first reaction is that there seems to be an oversupply of English Business News channels in India. The second one is that local language Business News channels in Hindi and Gujarati backed by strong networks seem to be doing better than their English language genre peers based on BARC ratings. Viewers are used to a number of English financial terms, and HSM and local language audiences understand what is being presented to them. India’s growing financial might, India’s growing market, demography that is skewed towards the youth, will attract more and more investors that will need reliable, prompt and correct news, information about their planned investments, about the fate of their assets, about the stock markets and other asset classes. And these reasons could also result in the English Business News channels viewership remaining steady. Maybe the current eco system can support more of the local language Business News channels, but this conclusion has to be supported by additional studies.

CNBC TV 18, CNBC Awaaz and CNBC Bazar are a part of the Mukesh Ambani controlled Network 18, while Zee Business is a channel that is a part of the Essel group that runs a number of channels through various companies. ET Now is a part of the Times Group, one of the oldest and respected media groups in India. A degree of reliability and professionalism is expected from and is delivered by these channels. At the same time, the growth, reliability and ease of availability of useful information on the internet is and will continue to be one of the main competitions for the Business News genre is a fact. Channels that fail to deliver to consumers expectations are likely to fail.

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