Ahead of Union Budget 2023-24, business news channels and platforms are ready with a platter of comprehensive programming around the most significant event of the year for them.
The Budget period is also very important for business news platforms from the revenue point of view as during this time, the platforms are able to onboard more advertisers and charge a premium, double-up on ad volumes due to their increased reach.
The Union Budget announcement is a crucial day for business news channels and platforms as they try to decode it for their viewers and readers in order to provide every minute detail of it in the form of discussions, debates with finance experts.
Anil Uniyal, CEO, BQ Prime, shared that the Union Budget is an important national event because it has a bearing on every individual and corporate, directly or indirectly.
He said, "For business news platforms such as ours, where the core proposition is to help our audiences make smarter business decisions, it becomes our responsibility to incisively decode the implications and expectations for the entire spectrum of our audiences--from institutional and retail investors, CXOs, professionals, corporations, traders and others.
Offerings for brands other than regular advertising
According to Anil Singhvi, Managing Editor, Zee Business, “Clients seek innovative advertising options during the budget season. Our channel always gives different solutions as per the client’s needs beyond regular FCTs. There are various options on the TV screen as well as in the digital space that can be utilised for them.”
As per BQ Prime’s Uniyal, “Our brand partners and advertisers who have partnered with BQ Prime for the Union Budget special coverage have been provided custom advertising and branding solutions as well as presence across our initiatives, details of which vary from advertiser to advertiser.”
“Essentially, the Union Budget is a high-impact event for us with audience numbers spiking sharply during the course of the entire coverage cycle, which includes pre-and post-Budget analysis. Besides, our Union Budget coverage also attracts new audiences every year -- our advertisers will be able to get lots of additional traction in terms of visibility and reach, in addition to our usual premium audiences that BQ Prime provides them access to,” he added.
As per Sanjeev Kumar, Business Head, ET.com, The Economic Times offers a variety of advertising options for brands including - online display advertising, sponsored content, branded content, events, custom solutions, programmatic advertising, native advertising, and video advertising.
ET also has a dedicated digital marketing team that can help brands in creating and executing campaigns across digital platforms. Brands can leverage these options to reach a wider audience, he added.
Not just business news channels, but even general news platforms will be putting out extensive coverage around the upcoming Union Budget, eventually attracting more advertisers.
Sudipto Chowdhuri, Chief Revenue Officer/Executive President - Sales at India TV, said that all branding options that enhance the channel without overwhelming the screen will be offered, such as L bands, logo bugs, break bumpers and solus breaks (if a brand can afford them).
Furthermore, he went on to state that on digital platforms, various video formats are also available.
Union Budget: An opportunity for business news platforms to grow ad revenue
The Economic Times charges a premium on regular advertising rates for pre-budget programming and on budget day, as these are high-traffic and high-viewership events that are of significant interest to both audiences and brands, as per ET.com’s Kumar.
“The exact amount of the premium will depend on a variety of factors, such as the specific property or program in which the ad will be placed, the duration of the ad, and the timing of the ad. As for the budget day ad rates, it would be difficult to compare with the ad rates for vote counting day for general news channels as the rates for different media platforms and channels vary,” he stated.
However, ad rates for the budget day on the Economic Times would be higher than their regular rates, as it is a high-profile and high-demand event, he added.
"I anticipate an approximate increase of 25% in ad revenue on the budget day compared to the previous year," India TV's Chowdhuri stated.
As per BQ Prime’s Uniyal, BQ Prime is a premium platform and the Union Budget is a key tentpole for us, and its holistic coverage is much appreciated and awaited by its audiences.
“We also see many new users come to BQ Prime for our Budget coverage and stay on once they sample our other incisive content. We have always seen a spike in our audience numbers during this period and our ad rates accordingly reflect the same trend,” he added.
As per ET.com’s Kumar, the increase in ad revenue for the budget day would depend on a variety of factors, such as the overall advertising market conditions, the number of brands that decide to advertise during the budget period, the effectiveness of the Economic Times' advertising sales strategy, and the level of competition from other media outlets.
Highest-selling properties during the budget period
BQ Prime’s Uniyal said, “While we don’t approach our digital-led multimedia content as traditional TV players do with appointment viewing centric ‘properties’, our core offering is markets and corporate news and analysis.”
The same trends continue in our budget coverage as well. Markets and corporate news, along with personal finance-related pieces see the most traction on the platform during the Union Budget, he added.
ET.com’s Kumar pointed out that it is difficult to say which specific properties are the highest-selling on the Economic Times during the budget period, as it can vary depending on the current events and advertising campaigns.
“However, some properties that are popular among both viewers and brands during the budget period include: News and analysis on the budget and its impact on various industries. Special reports and supplements on the budget and its implications for businesses and consumers. Live coverage and updates on the budget speech. Opinion pieces and analysis from experts in the field. Interactive tools and calculators to help viewers understand the budget and its impact on their finances and live blogs and social media coverage of the budget,” Kumar said.
Brands may also be interested in advertising in these properties as it is likely to be viewed by a large number of interested audiences and will help them to target the right audience. They may also be interested in creating custom solutions that align with the budget-related content, he added.
According to Zee Business’ Singhvi, the most exciting day for business news channels is budget day, the two-three days before and after the date on which it is announced are also very crucial.
“We have a very comprehensive set of programming line-ups that is most liked by the viewers and the advertisers. We have an exclusive line-up of guests who simplify the jargons for our viewers thereby making them understand the Union Budget in the most simplified way. Zee Business will engage the viewers on Budget Day on February 1 from 7 am to 11 pm, a full-day analysis, with a breakdown and discussion on the Budget 2023-24. This will add extensive value to the advertisers as their brands won’t be missed by their crucial stakeholders,” he added.
"Coverage of budget updates, key points and explanations in layman's terms generates significant interest among viewers. Brands often appreciate opportunities such as L bands during the Finance Minister's speech, full-screen takeovers and solus breaks throughout the day, as it presents them with a good opportunity to advertise their products," India TV's Chowdhuri said.
Platforms' content planning around Union Budget 2023
As per Kumar of ET.com, during the budget period, Economic Times offers extensive coverage and analysis of the budget, including live updates, expert opinions and in-depth reports on the key announcements and their impact on different sectors and industries, interactive tools and resources, such as calculators and infographics, to help readers understand and make sense of the budget.
Uniyal shared that BQ Prime will be seen innovating with formats such as visual stories, infographics and engaging conversations with experts that are being carried in the line-up to the budget.
“The day of the Budget will also have many exclusive, insightful conversations that our audiences will be able to tune into," he added.
Zee Business is running a line of pre-Budget shows to discuss the share market, different sectors and expectations from the upcoming budget and is also airing multiple promos for D-day to make the viewers aware of special budget feature shows on February 1.
Zee Business will also launch a new show ‘Shining India’ with the aim to engage the viewers on Budget Day on February 1, 2023, from 7 am to 11 pm, primarily focusing on a full-day analysis, with a breakdown and discussion on the Budget 2023-24.
Through the Shining India news show, the channel has lined up guests and key leaders to simplify the budget/finance jargons for the common man. This will allow viewers to have an in-depth understanding of the impact of Union Budget proposals on their day-to-day life.
The channel said that from the business point of view, this strategised move also brings in revenue and creates opportunities for sponsorship of exclusive budget programming and special packages around this theme.
“The channel has a targeted marketing plan, including mailers, print ads, budget contests and engaging social media posts to encourage the audiences to be involved in the budget coverage,” commented Singhvi of Zee Business.
Even Moneycontrol has unveiled its budget programming: Budget 2023-The New Normal Budget. This multi-format line-up is designed to explain the Union Budget policies, simplify them, and examine their impact on India.
Moneycontrol’s Budget coverage contains the Moneycontrol Manifesto, which provides a holistic set of recommendations for the policies that the government will need to take to revitalise the Indian economy after Covid-19. The sectoral analysis will discuss important policies and reform report cards for several industries; Macros and Markets, a video-led IP, will include CEOs, COOs, and economists' perspectives on the upcoming budget.
B for Budget, G For Green will focus on core issues of climate finance; Commentary Box will include an opinion piece from economists, sector experts, and industry captains on the state of the economy, the business environment, and policy imperatives.
The Manual, a video/podcast series will explain key fiscal and budget terms, processes and practices for the uninitiated; Your Money, Aapka Paisa will feature stories on personal finance and what’s expected in the form of tax breaks, mutual funds etc for citizens. Multiple series like Ghar Ka Ganit will discuss kitchen economics and managing the kitchen budget; Youth Agenda will highlight what the youth of India expects and wants from the budget; Sectoral Expectations will have 7 roundtables of industry experts from 7 sectors and their expectations from the budget.
Times Network’s ET NOW and ET Now Swadesh have announced an exclusive Budget special programming under the theme, Budget 2023 – Leap Ahead.
Using technology and AR graphics to present a simplified Budget analysis, ET Now and ET Now Swadesh have introduced a slew of interactive line-ups that will decode Union Budget 2023. The channels have also partnered with Deloitte India as Knowledge Partner and will have their industry experts share views on social, political, and economic implications of the Union Budget.
As part of pre-budget programming, the channel has introduced four shows: Budget & Markets, Economist Panel, Budget & Startups and the Money Show.
On both channels, the Budget Day will commence with the LIVE coverage of the FM speech, think tanks, Swaminathan Aiyar, Mythili Bhusnurmath, Rajnish Kumar, Puneet Chhatwal, Dr Ashutosh Raghuvanshi, who will simplify, analyse and dissect the Budget and give real-time views as its being delivered.
The channels will have LIVE coverage from big industry chambers– CII, FICCI, Bombay Chamber Of Commerce & Industry. Along with that, the channels have introduced Budget Fatafat – A quick roundup of all the key takeaways from the Budget and Budget & You – A personal finance show that will answer all the viewers' queries on their personal finance with a panel of guests.
Not just business news channels, but even general news platforms will be putting out extensive coverage around the upcoming Union Budget.
According to Chowdhury of India TV, the channel stands out in its programming, including its coverage of the budget.
"The India TV Budget Conclave will feature top leaders, including the Finance Minister. The network's presentation of the budget is unique on both television and digital platforms," he added.