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English biz news genre exhibits drop in TV viewership, growth on digital platforms

Digital continues to grow while TV viewership stabilises.

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MUMBAI: Despite all the hullabaloo about digital cannibalising TV, the rapid rise of digital platforms hasn’t had a negative impact on traditional news viewing for now. In fact, the two consumption modes have complemented each other, enhancing the reach of content and news pieces to an ever wider audience. This trend, however, does not seem to hold true for English business news. While the viewership of the genre is increasing on digital, that on TV seems to have taken a hit in the recent past.

Comparing viewership data for the top three channels in the past one year, it is not difficult to spot this difference. The leader in the genre, CNBC TV18, had 654 impressions ‘000 in week 4 in 2018 compared to 339 impressions ‘000 for the corresponding period in 2019. ET Now saw a dip from 608 impressions ‘000 to 155 impressions ‘000 in January 2019. BTVI too wasn't exempt from this trend, showcasing a viewership drop from 110 impressions ‘000 to 52 impressions ‘000. 

According to BARC data, the core audience for the English business news channel is All India (U+R): NCCS AB: Males 22+ Individuals. CNBC TV18 has witnessed a drop of 39 per cent viewership among its core audience within a time frame of 15 weeks, starting week 40 2018 to week 2 2019. CNBC TV18 accounts for 65 per cent of the genre viewership. If we consider CNBC TV18 Prime HD, the viewership share goes up to 70 per cent.

On the other hand, CNBC TV18 seems to be gaining quite a bit of traction on YouTube. The channel's total subscribers on YouTube are 285,867; it gained around 18,000 subscribers and was watched for 14.7 million minutes in December 2018.

Commenting on the growth of business news on digital media, PwC MD risk assurance- media and entertainment Anand Punmiya said, “If we analyse TV English business news viewership data for past one year it appears that spike and downtrend are clearly event driven. However, on an average the TV viewership impressions were in the range of 500-600 and there was a marginal fall when news became available on digital platforms. It may not be apt to state that viewers have moved from TV to digital platform with respect to English business news, both platforms continue to have their own significance and convenience of use.”

Urban India is ahead when it comes to consuming news on digital mediums but it is mainly headlines. However, for analysis, views or opinions, the preferred option is always a news channel or newspaper. Advertising on digital medium is growing rapidly, though not at the expense of TV revenues.

BTVI claims to have doubled its viewership market share from 10 per cent in December 2018 to 19 per cent in January 2019.

BTVI COO Megha Tata said, “In my opinion, core TG of the genre (22+ Males) is out of home (at their place of work) during the prime time of the genre (8 am to 4 pm). Hence, measuring at home does not give a true picture of genre viewership. Having said that, English business news is a very unstable genre and according to current measurement methods, genre viewership has seen a decline of 18 per cent in CY 2018 as compared to CY 2017. However, BTVI has grown by 19 per cent in the same time period.”

BTVI has built a strong digital ecosystem, its content is available on OTT platforms such as Hotstar, JioTV, YouTube, Sony LIV, ZEE5, and YUPP TV. The channel is available on these platforms both as LIVE stream and VOD. 

“Going by our experience, we have seen a huge uptake of business news content on OTT platforms as well as trading apps mentioned above. Clearly, there is a huge market for business content on digital ecosystem. However, we have grown our viewership on linear TV platform as well. Hence, it would be more accurate to say that viewers are getting added as genre consumers on digital platforms and not shifting from TV to digital,” Tata added. 

Besides such OTT platforms, large proportion of business news genre viewers actively deal in stock market over various trading platforms. Such trading platforms have relevant set of viewers ready to consume business content on these platforms. Knowing this, BTVI became the only English business news channel to be present on trading apps such as Axis Direct, Kotak Securities, IIFL markets, HDFC Securities and Geojit. 

With the general elections just around the corner, it remains to be seen what English business news channels have on offer to woo the audiences. With a tantalising political contest on offer, business news channels would like to seize upon the chance to regain some of the lost momentum with clever and engaging programming.

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