A happy co-existence of linear and non-linear media is an ideal way of going forward, Megha Tata, COO, BTVI tells Shubham Raheja in an interview during the Brand Studio Live Series. Edited excerpts:

What steps did you take to grow BTVI in such a short span?

We consider BTVI in many ways a new brand. When you launch a new brand you set certain guidelines to what the brand stands for, what needs to be the content, what should be the philosophy, how it should be communicated and how you should connect with the consumer.

What were the things we did right? We delved a lot into the research. We understood what the customer needed and then simplified the language to what our customers wanted to hear. It’s really about what we stand for and deliver to our promises.

For instance, our first challenge at hand was that television was a very competitive space and there are several leaders out there—how do we compete in this market?

So, the first task is to get the consumer to start watching TV. But consumers are not watching TV, there’s news on other platforms. So we went to where they are—online. We looked at partnering with digital platforms, which allowed us to become the only live-stream business news channel on Hotstar and Jio. Our core customers include the investor community, people who are trading and are into markets. They already have trading apps, but we are changing the narrative by bringing news to them in a streamable format. So the customer narrative is changing and we are going to where they are.

We put all of these findings in our platform and now we have nearly 500 million individuals. So, a happy co-existence of linear and non-linear media is an ideal way of going forward today.

Is it a boon or bane that people are moving to digital platforms from television? Television is clearly costlier than digital, how do you cope with that?

It’s absolutely true that running a TV channel has become very costly these days, and you might have seen there haven’t been a lot of TV channel launches lately. It is far easier to run a digital proposition because your general costs are much lower. The ability to monetise your content on digital is still low as compared to TV. So if you’re in the media publishing space and you want to do digital and if you say you want to close the TV business, you are taking a big risk. There is a big possibility of losing that revenue because it’s going to take you time to build a digital universe that is loyal that you can monetise. You can’t do it at the cost of TV.

So there’s no black book out there that with the right set of rules that tell you “if you do this, this will happen."

So we had to keep evolving, see how these combinations work and had to be smart about it. We are constantly trying to get more integrated.

How do you keep a check on the authenticity of your news? How do you make sure that what you’re putting out is not only engaging but also true?

In any business news channel, there is no compromise on credibility. For us, the content proposition is testimony to the fact that the growth of the channel has happened because customers are liking our content. The time spent is a good indicator of that. An average consumer spends 20 minutes on our channel. That’s a huge chunk and that tells us how engaged our audience is.

The content of our channel is not about quantity as much about quality. We might have a small base, but a much targeted one. That becomes very important for what you’re bringing and the conversations that happen on the channel. So that way, we can’t fool our customers. You can fool them once, twice; you’ve lost them the third time. So if you’re not consistent with your proposition, what you’re saying and if you can’t add value to the customer then you cannot survive. That is understood with our professional journalists. And that is why we are able to show that consistency in our work.

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