Bloomberg TV India is the only channel reaching out to global investors: Vivek Law

25 Jun,2014

It’s that time of the year where all business media entities get hyperactive. Yes, it’s Budget time. And this year’s edition is going to be extra special given that it’s the BJP-led Narendra Modi government’s maiden fiscal discourse. After all of the promises of ‘Achche Din Aane Waale Hain’, there is much anticipation from Corporate India.


Bloomberg TV India has got its act together for the Budget that is scheduled to be presented on July 10. We caught up with Vivek Law, Editor, Bloomberg TV India on his plans for the channel’s coverage of the Union Budget 2014-15.  Excerpts from an interview:


Before we get on to discussing plans for the Budget, tell us more about the channel is doing.

Well,  we’re probably the only business channel which is relayed across the world. We’re live on the Bloomberg terminal. All the 400,000-odd subscribers of the Bloomberg terminal actually get to see the video that’s the TV version of the channel on the terminal. In addition to that, we feel in the last two to three years; especially in the build up to the elections our global TV network has been carrying a lot of dedicated Indian content. Also, we known that the Indian stockmarket is pretty much driven by FII investments. And it’s the global investors who’ve been very keen and interested in knowing what’s going on in India. They’ve already put in hundreds of billions of dollars and intend to put in more which is why we are at the levels where we are. Their interest in India has only grown. If you are an investor sitting out of New York or London; to my mind, your only window to the Indian economy or market is Bloomberg TV India.


Yes, even though you are essentially a business channel, we saw a fair bit of elections coverage on your channel.

Even though we’re a business channel, we had a daily one-hour programme which was called Political Capital. I know we’re not a general channel so our coverage was very distinct from what the others were covering. We were very sharply focused in terms of what the global investor would want to know in terms of the Indian elections.


Your theme for the Budget programming ‘Will they walk the talk? is interestingly worded?

This theme was chosen because there’s been a lot of expectation built up in the stockmarket in terms of the fact that this government is going to turn things around and is going to lift the economy out of the slumber. The message is: Wait for the Budget and the Budget will be the first document we’ll present in terms of giving a direction of what we want to do. So there’s a lot of interest as far as the global community is concerned. We’re also very clear that given the global interest, that’s where our actual strength lies… in terms of reaching out to investors internationally from across our studios all over the world. That would be the sharper focus we’d go with this time.


But does the theme mean that you will take a critical view of what could possibly happen.

The point we are trying to make is there have been enormous expectations right from September when Narendra Modi was formerly anointed as the PM candidate. If you see the market from then, it has jumped 20% and there’s a huge amount of expectations built in the markets especially with global investors. Here’s a person whose entire campaign was actually around the economy. He talked of inflation, lifting economic growth and jobs. In fact, we called it ‘Economy Election’ on our channel. Perhaps for the first time, he’s brought economic issues to the centrestage in many years. Therefore, there are great expectations built in. And there are various concerns in terms of whether he’ll be able to deliver all that he promised? It’s not that he’s going to be able to do everything in just one budget but the expectation factor is huge. That’s why we want to raise the question that a: how much is he going to be able to do? And b: What’s the kind of road map he’s going to be able to present?


Any specific highlights and differentiators of the Budget telecast on Bloomberg TV India?

I gave you the biggest differentiator. It’s not that we won’t give you what the others are doing. But there are two very important differentiators from what I expect others to do. A large part of our run-up to the programming is where the post-Budget will be in the whole personal finance space that’s an area I’ve been personally involved with. There’s a reason for that. It’s a fact that the Indian retail investor has been pretty much sitting out of the markets in the last few years. He or she has not been participating at all. In fact the redemption figures of both insurance and mutual funds testify. Now what we’re beginning to see is some of them coming back. It’s a very small amount; it’s still just a trickle. So again from the wider audience perspective, in terms of investing in equities there’s a lot of interest as well. I know we’re not a mass channel but at the same time we have a large number of viewers from the aspirational segment who’d want to be investing. That will be one of our major pillars in terms of the personal finance space. The second is we also intend to do a lot of programming around the youth. A large part of Modi’s following really seems to have come from the younger lot. Hence some of our programming will be going to campuses and trying to get a sense from the youth in terms of what are their expectations and once the Budget is presented, what do they think about it? This is in addition to the Indian stockmarket gurus and the stockmarket chiefs which we of course will do, but if you ask me honestly, that’s something everyone will do.


In terms of show packaging, what can one expect?

All our packaging and graphics are completely in sync with what Bloomberg does globally. If you watch our channel here and you watch Bloomberg Asia or Europe or America, they are identical. I’m not so sure I can give you more details at this point but what I can you is it will be a much fresher look on Budget Day for us.


Is that going to change post-Budget Day or will it be only for Budget Day?

It will change post-Budget day. We’ll introduce it around Budget Day or around that time. But that will be a permanent change. It won’t be something that’s just for one day.


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