Television

“Under Arnab’s guidance, ET Now will innovate & redefine biz news genre:” MK Anand

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Launched on 17 June, 2009 Times Group’s business news channel ET Now, has now completed six years in the Indian television industry. ET Now is the youngest player in the English business news space and faces firm competition from CNBC TV 18, NDTV Profit and UTV Bloomberg.

On numerous occasions the channel has grabbed the pole position in terms of viewership. What’s more, as per the recent Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India ratings it is placed in second place with 136 (000s) sum, while CNBC TV 18 holds the pole position with 154 (000s) sum.

Times Network has been strongly promoting the business venture and in order to strengthen it further, the network has now given Arnab Goswami the additional responsibility of being its editor-in-chief. Speaking to Indiantelevision.com’s Anirban Roy Choudhury, Times Network CEO and managing director MK Anand shares the network’s plans and proposals for the future.

Excerpts:

How has ET Now’s journey been so far?

It has been a splendid journey. In just three and a half years, ET Now had established itself as the No.1 business news channel of India, beating a global giant competitor and creating history of sorts. Recently, the BARC measurement system has re-validated our position as India's Number 1 business news channel. ET Now was launched on 17 June, 2009 in a challenging economic environment, and practically rewrote the script for the genre.

Over the years, the channel has not just gained its viewers’ trust but has also gone on to become the preferred choice of India Inc. and policy makers alike.

What’s your take on the business news market? Do you see it growing?

The business news market, like the Indian media market in general, is most definitely poised for strong growth. Despite recent volatility, we are in the middle of a structural bull run that could see a whole new set of viewers tuning into business channels like ET Now, for unbiased news coverage and analysis. We believe in re-imagining and creating new value with our products. If last year is any indication, our bet on the English audience and more specifically on the English news category will pay us handsomely. We see geometric growth in the medium term.

What will be your strategy to stay ahead of competitors?

ET Now has built its leadership on three key pillars - speed, integrity and expertise. We will continue to up the ante on all three pillars and further consolidate our leadership by reaching out to a wider catchment of viewers. Our distribution has already been scaled up substantially. We also have the best in class content team. The trick is to relentlessly be ahead on quality. We are confident to be able to do it.

Over the years, what has been advertisers’ reaction towards the channel?

Advertisers and brand owners have been extremely positive and encouraging; they have continuously reposed their confidence in us, for we cater to the audience that matters the most. ET Now continues to reach out to maximum viewers in the English business news category and we ensure our advertisers get the maximum ROI for their spends. Our ad growth is the best indicator of our advertiser confidence.

How aggressively will Times Network push to promote ET Now?

ET Now is an integral and important part of Times Network’s news portfolio. The recent clutter breaking consumer and trade engagements, never-seen-before budget campaign and the recent leadership drive, reinforces Times Network’s intent towards ET Now’s growth and success.

Can you throw some light on the channel’s distribution numbers? How do you plan to improve it further?

For ET Now, the focus earlier was only on metros. However, with digital addressable system (DAS) implementation in Phase II and the demand of the channel growing in markets beyond metros, ET Now’s penetration has increased to almost 100 per cent in all 1 Mn+ markets. We have also doubled the penetration in 0.1 to 1 Mn markets, in the last 10-12 months.

With the impending DAS III & IV phases, the focus on LC1 has also increased for all broadcasters and likewise for ET Now, where language is no longer a barrier considering the kind of content it provides.

With Arnab Goswami as the new editor-in-chief, will there be any change in programming?

Arnab has been a champion of innovation in the general news genre. Under his guidance, ET Now will continue to innovate and redefine the business news genre. We have a winning team and a champion leader.

What is the channel’s stand on the new rating body BARC? Do you see enough difference when compared to TAM?

We are happy with the new measurement system. BARC is technologically advanced and is larger than the erstwhile base of meters by almost two-and-a-half times. An extended viewer base has certainly helped bring in more consumers into the analysed set and helped us improve our services to them and thus generate more value. With BARC, we have retained the No.1 spot across channels, and we continue to lead the broadcast space in the respective genre with a clear margin. Times Network’s ‘Now or Nothing’ philosophy, helps us sustain our leadership across genres with differentiated and hard hitting content and stay on top of the audience pyramid as always.

As ET Now celebrates its sixth anniversary, will there be any special programming to celebrate the occasion?

This is ET Now's anniversary week and we thought we must delight our loyal viewers. So we have launched a ‘Built on Six’ contest, where in six lucky viewers have the chance to win an iPhone.

On the programming front, we have a power packed line of shows and experts this week. Some of the most seasoned market experts like Vallabh Bhanshali and Ramesh Damani will be speaking exclusively to ET Now and sharing their insights on the market. We also have some exclusive interviews lined up with key ministers and govt officials. That's not all, we also have a special show on 17 June (anniversary day) called Stocks and Stars, which will feature Bollywood superstar- Amitabh Bachchan.

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