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ETNow Soft Lauched By BCCL; Where’s Their Website ETNow.tv?

Update: ETNow.tv now points to a video site, albeit, an Economic Times video section, that is “powered by ET Now”.

Original Story (June 18): Joining the ranks of business news channels on July 2 is ET Now from Times Global Broadcasting, a subsidiary of Bennet & Coleman Co Ltd (BCCL); the channel went live on cable yesterday. According to our sources, it is expected to be launched on DTH by the beginning of July.

This means that ET Now will have distribution in place, in time for the Union Budget; from a business channel (and website’s) perspective, the budget is the biggest revenue earning opportunity of the year, though quarterly financial resutls do help. The ET Now effort is being led by Rahul Joshi, Executive Editor of The Economic Times. The former news director of CNBC-TV18, Muralidhar Swaminathan is the Chief Editor of News. Chintamani Rao is the CEO of Times Global Broadcasting.

Where’s ETNow.tv?

ETNow.tv had been registered to serve as the website for the channel. Recently, the domain registry for ETNow.tv was changed, and are now anonymised. However, according to DNS records for ETNow.tv (screenshot), it has been registered by Abhimanyu Radhakrishnan of the Times Group. Radhakrishnan is the Deputy Editor of ET Now, and blogs here.

One would have expected the website to be launched simultaneously with the channel – remember, CNN-IBN lauched IBNLive simultaneously in December 2005, and has leveraged it rather well since. Perhaps one will see ETNow.tv live by the time the Union Budget comes around in the beginning of July. According to our sources, the website is being developed by sister concern Times Internet Ltd, which also refurbished the TimesNow.tv website.

What remains to be seen is whether the ETNow website will be video focused – like Timesnow.tv, or text focused. All said and done, they’ll have plenty of content that can be ported from Economic Times, both on TV, as well as the web. Some content from ET Now reporter is up on EconomicTimes.com – an example here, of a story from Andy Mukherjee. There’s also a common Economic Times and ET Now “Code of Conduct” on the Economic Times website.

ETNow video content will be a part of the Times Audience Network, which the Times Group set up earlier this year, MediaNama had been told, earlier this year.

CNBC-TV18. And The Reuters Angle

Key to the launch of ETNow is the collaboration between Times Global Broadcasting and Thomson Reuters. BCCL runs the Economic Times, the largest business daily in India, and will have access to financial reporting resources that might just eclipse those of CNBC-TV18 in India. This, in a sense, is the biggest threat that CNBC-TV18 has faced so far. Just a few months ago, CNBC-TV partnered with Mint, the business daily from HT Media, for sharing content.

Reuters and TGBCL have partnered before, for Times Now. Reuters used to own 26% of TGBCL, but that partnership broke off at the beginning of 2008.

TGBCL Fundraising Plans

Earlier this year, ContentSutra had reported about TGBCL looking to raise $48-58 million for 25% stake, at a valuation of $200 million. The story is now missing from the website, but inputs of the same are available with Reuters.

According to the report, ET Now was expecting revenues of $6.9 million in the 2009-10 fiscal, which may have changed given the delay in its launch. In 2010-11, revenues of  $19.3 million were projected, and of $62.9 million by 2013-14. The channel had plans to earn money through ad funded programmes and events, expecting returns of $4.8 million in 2010-11 and $16.2 million by 2013-14.


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