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Guest Column: Innovation in the business news channel space in terms of coverage

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Business news genre has come a long way in the last 20 years of its existence in India and so has the business news coverage. It all started with covering stock markets and related news. However, I believe, there is business interest involved at the heart of almost every major event around the world. Be it a country deciding to invade another country or why the center of world cricket has shifted to England to Asia. In fact, most of these events impact stock markets, businesses and economies in some or the other way.

I see business news covering the business aspect of all of these in a more holistic way and not restricting itself to coverage of stock markets only. I also think that since many of us need to know about personal finance management, business news channels can educate masses about personal finance management as well and make us understand the basics of investing in stock markets. BTVI has a show called Financial Planner to address this concern. We also have a feature show called Aspire that covers business aspects of luxury, lifestyle and entertainment.

With important state elections coming and upcoming national election in India, we have upped the ante of our political coverage. In a vibrant and buoyant economy like ours, journalistic activism is critical and important. Knowing so, we have firmed up our investigative journalism over the last one year.

This holistic approach has yielded positive results for us as we lead the English business news genre post market hours and on weekends with viewership share of 41 per cent each.

Scope of a comparatively new news channel in the business genre.

At present, the entire business news genre depends heavily on stock market related content which remains largely the same on all channels. Though the content post market hours (4 pm onwards on Monday to Friday) and on weekends can differ, from the viewership, revenue and brand perception perspective, the market hours programming (8 am to 4 pm on Monday to Friday) is the key to success in this genre in its current format.

Besides, in the last couple of years, English business news genre has shrunk at all India level with average weekly viewership going down from 1009 GVTs in 2017 to 956 GVTs in 2018.  Even in terms of ad volumes, the FCT consumption has dropped by 15 per cent from 2017 to this year.

Considering all the factors mentioned above, I don’t see a scope of a new news TV channel in the English business genre space. However, regional is a completely different and interesting proposition to evaluate.

 How can a business news channel increase its reach & viewership

Well, there are traditional ways of ensuring OTS levels through distribution and marketing activities. But that’s not a sustainable way to function. The idea is for content and brands to reach out to the right TG. Why should that outreach be focussed on or limited to television platform? Why not on emerging digital platforms? In my opinion, expansion of digital footprints by existing brands is a way forward to increase the brand’s reach and awareness and translate part of that increased reach into television viewership.

For example: BTVI is now available on with its LIVE streaming Not only on Hotstar, Jio TV, Yupp TV  but also on trading apps like that of Axis Direct, Kotak Securities, IIFL Markets and HDFC Securities. This is the relevant audience and we have seen a huge upside on impressions by reaching to our audience through these platforms.

Source for all viewership data points: BARC India, TG:22+MalesAB, Market:6MegaCities+Guj1mn+, Period: Wk30-33 2018

(The author is the COO of BTVI. The views expressed are personal and Indiantelevision.com may not subscribe to them)

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