As part of creating verticals within its audience base, CNBC India is now targeting the Indian advertising community with the launch of the Indian version of CNBC Asia's popular property, Storyboard. Hosted by Bettina Chua Abdullah, CNBC Asia's Storyboard is a 30-minute look at the world of media, marketing and advertising. It had been around for two years before it took a break lately. The Indian Storyboard, premiering tonight on CNBC India at 2000 hours (repeats at 2300 hrs, Sunday 1130 hrs and 2000 hrs), is produced by Anuradha Sengupta and backed by India-specific inputs, according to Haresh Chawla, chief executive, CNBC India.
"Internationally, Storyboard focuses more on creative," he explains. "Here it's looking at the business, media and technology. And here, what's more important is that the community is much larger and so the focus is more on people." Chawla says these learnings came from one-on-ones conducted with the Indian advertising community across the country. "They wanted to have a serious look at their business, in a more researched fashion. The other thing they want to see are the trends coming up; the show should talk about what is new and latest in the business, they said," recalls Chawla.
Broadly, Storyboard aims to touch upon eight sections, including trends, news, new and old campaigns, technology in advertising, people polls, and international advertising. Till date, CNBC India has spoken to this audience (editorially, that is) only by way of regular news coverage. "This is the first proper researched package specifically for the advertising community," says Chawla.
Storyboard is part of CNBC India's broader strategy of beefing up the "executive suite" programming initiated around March this year. Soon after its launch in December 1999, CNBC India was busy strengthening its coverage of the money markets. "The focus was to consolidate on business and new programming," says Chawla. Once that fell into place, his team began beefing up the evening band to bring together a series of programmes addressing different audience communities. "Having started with the core financial community, we started doing verticals involving the IT community, mutual fund investors, CEOs, and so on," he explains. "Going forward, we will also do industry specials." A technology show is scheduled to commence around June.
"We are now nearing completion of our strategy," he says. Comparing channel share statistics with news channels in SEC A, Chawla is confident that CNBC India is fast on its way to becoming a strong bet for advertisers. For four weeks ending March 10, CNBC India had a higher channel share among SEC A (0.7 in nine cities) compared to Aaj Tak, BBC, CNN, Star News and Zee News. "Now advertisers are realising that our audience is larger than the largest English news channel in India," he says.
While delivering 11 hours of programming to CNBC India, the Indian partner, Television Eighteen, is also launching ground-level events in a big way. A big step in this direction was the Mutual Fund of the Year Awards held in February this year. Chawla claims the function to be a huge hit. "While the channel spent only about Rs 40-50 lakh on the event, the winners must have spent Rs 3 crore upwards in advertising it," he says. It was followed by a series of events for the IT community, called Enlightenment, held in Mumbai and Bangalore. His team is now preparing to take Managing India (a dialogue with a CEO) to people. "Top CEOs will be in direct contact with audience beginning June," discloses Chawla. Events are a big thing on his priority list for this year.
Chawla and his team have a tough challenge ahead on Storyboard. They are addressing a community that is fairly demanding, articulate and exposed to international standards. As he says, "the expectation levels are very high". The show promises to be "an intelligent, sensible and smart look at the business of advertising". As for CNBC Asia's Storyboard, the management is yet to decide if the original will also be seen by Indian viewers as and when it returns