The space is getting crowded, but, as far as the race for the leadership position for business channels coverage of the Union Budget, it's still CNBC TV18 at the head of the pack.
Here's what the share of channels looks like:
1. Budget week (0600-2400 hrs) in all India: CNBC TV18 leads with 47% relative share followed by ET Now with 42%, NDTV Profit is at #3 with 11% and Bloomberg TV has no viewership.
2. Budget Day: CNBC TV18 & ET Now both lead with 49% each followed by NDTV Profit with 3% and Bloomberg TV continues to have no viewership.
3. FM Speech: CNBC TV18 leads with 57% followed by ET Now with 40% , NDTV Profit at #3 with 3% and no viewership of Bloomberg TV.
4. Economic Survey day (27th Feb): CNBC TV18 leads with 47% followed by ET Now with 32%, NDTV Profit at #3 with 21% and Bloomberg TV has no viewership.
All these figures are for the core audience group of CS AB Males 25+.
To the layman, some definitions are required.
TV viewership data can be sliced and diced in many ways. One would obviously get different results if one changed any one or more of the variables that are measured. The available filters are gender, age band, education and income, time and date, city of viewership and whether a satellite or terrestrial (Doordarshan) household.
For the interpretation above, the first filter is CS (Cable and satellite watching household). The next is 'SEC AB Males 25+'. 'SEC AB' is the aggregate of SEC A and SEC B, the two most influential demographics in viewership based on education and income. 'Males', obviously, infers that only male viewership is accounted. '25+' refers to the age of the measured audience.
Therefore, all men, across all measured cities in India, watching cable/satellite TV, all aged 25 years or more, are taken into account in the highlights given above.
In point (1) above, where there is a reference to '0600 to 2400 hours', it means that the viewership between midnight and 6.00 am was not taken into consideration.
The source for all the data given above is TAM, the measurement company that advertisers and marketers base their advertising decisions on.
Where there is a reference to Budget week, the data pertains to 'Week 9 in 2013'. (Each week of the year is referred to as 'Week x, Week y,' and so on, so that, when multiple claims are made, readers and decision makers can make apples-to-apples comparisons).
On Budget Day, the measured hours are from 6.00 am to midnight.
The data relating to the Finance Minister's speech takes into account the viewership from the moment the FM began his speech (11.00 am) till he finished the speech (12.45 PM).
So, shorn of spin, and with clear explanations on every single point, there's no doubt as to who the winner of the Union Budget was - CNBC TV18.
Disclaimer: Firstpost is a part of Network 18, which also owns CNBC TV18.