Television
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BTVI to leverage digital mediums for growth

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MUMBAI: English business news channel BTVI is completing two years in August this year. The company was transformed from Bloomberg TV India after Bloomberg decided not to renew its deal with Business Broadcast News. BTVI got its COO Megha Tata in 2016 at the same time it got its new name. 

English Business News (EBN) genre is still a very niche market with only five channels in the race - CNBC TV18, ET Now, BTVI, NDTV Profit and CNBC TV18 Prime HD. The genre contributes to less than one per cent of the total TV pie where BTVI is still struggling to compete with the genre leaders, CNBC TV18 and ET Now.

It was around the same time that BTVI decided to bring in ex HBO MD Megha Tata on board as the channel’s new COO. Tata’s journey ever since has been a roller-coaster ride and she believes that refurbishing the leadership at BTVI has been a positive step. “Bringing back revenue function in-house which was outsourced before was another move that has worked for us,” she says. 

One of the crucial decisions that paid off for BTVI was refurbishing the leadership. “Besides having a strong editorial leadership, in people like Anuj Katiyar to lead marketing, research and branded content, Shilpa Shetty to head revenue, Ashim Chakraborty as HR head and Deepa George to head our legal, I think we found an absolutely perfect leadership team. Bringing back revenue function in-house which was outsourced before was another move that has worked for us,” she adds.

The hard work in the last one year has helped in boosting the channel’s market share from two per cent to a stable 15 per cent (touching as high as 24 per cent at times). This growth was riding on the back of very strong consumer insights being translated into on air content, programming changes, promo planning, FPC planning and brand building. 

Tata believes that the business news genre is consumed not only on linear TV but also on OTT platforms. The channel is already present on Hotstar, Jio TV, Yupp TV, Airtel TV and Tata Sky TV. The key trend this year, according to Tata, will be the further penetration of TV in rural areas.

Tata says that the future is for broadcasters to create specialised content for their social media as well as OTT platforms to retain subscribers and their loyalty. “More TV viewers from rural India will also mean an increase in advertiser base and hence advertising revenue. This year will also see exponential growth in the viewership of non-linear OTT platforms. Now that these OTT platforms have garnered critical subscriber base, it will be interesting to see what are the different revenue models that will emerge to monetise this critical subscriber mass. BARC is expected to launch EKAM – the integrated viewership measurement module – later this year. This will certainly help in rationalisation of investments in these OTT platforms,” she adds.

With eight states gearing up for elections, news channels are sure to have a ball. Tata thinks that with addressable TV, broadcasters will get an option of customising ad breaks and play different ads targeted at different markets/TG. This will make TV lucrative for regional and small advertisers thus increasing advertiser base and revenues of broadcast TV media.

BTVI, in the last financial year, had focussed on improving the OTS levels to 100 per cent in its key markets. In this financial year, the channel’s aim is to achieve this 100 per cent OTS in all the P1 markets.

The growth in digital hasn’t had a deteriorating impact on traditional news viewing. Instead, Tata believes they complement each other and it is the content that will be the winner. Advertising on digital medium is growing rapidly, though not at the expense of TV revenues. 

Urban India is ahead when it comes to consuming news on digital mediums but it is mainly headlines. When it comes to analysis, views or opinions, the option is always a news channel or newspaper.

Tata reveals that increasingly audiences are consuming English business news on their mobiles and non-linear platforms like OTT and m-sites of trading apps. It’s an opportunity not to be missed. “Hence, we at BTVI have increased our focus on building a strong digital ecosystem for brand BTVI. We are already available on trading apps of Kotak, Axis Direct and IIFL. We are also working on our mobile app as well as revamping our website. To support the app and website, we plan to build a robust digital content plan,” she says.

Though the regional market is important, BTVI will first look at focussing its energy and resources in establishing itself in its core metro market first. The regional market will come in at a later time.

Speaking on the issue of taking up dual local channel number (LCN) she says that though it is advantageous to the channel, it can even hamper the brand since people can’t remember more than one number for a channel. Though it may get additional reach, it won’t get enough TSV to justify the cost.

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