ET Now, the business channel launched in 2009 from the stable of Bennett Coleman & Company (BCCL), is celebrating its first anniversary on June 17.
In an exclusive interaction with afaqs!, the channel heads share the business channel's experiences over the last one year and the way ahead for brand ET Now.
Sunil Lulla, managing director and chief executive officer, Times Television Network, emphasises that ET Now was launched at a time when India was recovering from the global economic slowdown. According to him, "The focus of the channel, thus, was to become a leading markets channel by bringing the most relevant market news, stock tips and game changing information to the viewer so that he or she was able to make informed judgments on investments and grow his/her money."
The channel has managed to become the No. 3 player in the business news genre, which has three other players, including segment leader CNBC-TV18, followed by NDTV Profit and the fourth player, UTVi.
At the time of the launch, ET Now was positioned as a brand that promised to bring
'the power of knowledge on the screens' by making the most of the power and prestige associated with the group's print brand, The Economic Times (ET).
Commenting on how the country's leading business print daily has helped the TV entity establish and grow, Neeti Chopra, brand director, ET and ET Now, admits that the ET heritage and legacy has benefited ET Now. The print daily has been a mentor and guide to the business channel.
Chopra adds, "ET Now breaks the biggest market moving stories every day. Viewers get the flavour of news that moves the markets through the day from ET's strong team of 200 reporters across the country, besides of course its own network of experienced reporters. ET Now's buy, sell and hold recommendations come from the biggest market voices, apart from ET and ET Now's strong team of 40 research analysts."
While there is an overlap of content between the print and TV brands of BCCL, does it extend to the brands and advertisers attracted by the two?
Lulla explains, "ET Now is a markets channel, whereas ET is a business publication. Clearly, the client deliveries and expectations from the two media are different. While at an overall level the two media are treated separately, we do work on larger properties - especially those that require a multi media approach."
When ET Now debuted in 2009, there were concerns about the distribution of the channel. However, Chopra says that till the last financial year, the channel was available across six metros, Gujarat and West Bengal - and with all the DTH operators.
In June 2010, the channel has added two new important markets, including Punjab and UP, making its distribution fairly robust and reaching a larger base of viewers.
ET Now began by offering two types of programming - morning and evening. The morning time band offered news related to market and expert views, and buy, sell and hold tips. The evening band stressed on analysis of the day's trades, relevant global cues, interviews with the movers and shakers of Indian and world business, and lighter feature stories which interest the business community.
He adds, "Between 8 am and 4 pm, the channel is focused on the changes in the Indian stock market, in commodities and currencies, and in global movements which affect market trading in the country."
In March, ET Now rolled out the campaign, 'Right Time - 8 am to 11 am and Right Place - ET Now'.
Chopra informs that the channel's marketing campaign for the first anniversary will focus on bringing together some of the biggest names in corporate India during both the market trading hours and in the evening. The campaign will communicate the focus, which is and will continue to be the DNA of the channel.