One of India’s oldest business news channels — which remained available on Indian DTH operators despite not airing any news shows since 2017 — has finally made a comeback: NDTV Profit was relaunched on Friday (8 December) under the new ownership of the Adani Group, which acquired most of NDTV in 2022 from its original proprietors Prannoy and Radhika Roy. It replaces BQ Prime, an existing online business news portal previously acquired by the Adanis. Almost coincidentally, the channel’s new logo is made up of a colourful gradient using the same colours as the Adani logo itself. The logo is now placed in the bottom right corner — the same as competitors CNBC-TV18 and ET Now, as well as Times Now and Mirror Now — in contrast to the top right corner used by the great majority of Indian TV channels, including most news channels as well as NDTV’s other channels.
Technically, NDTV Profit — which was launched in 2005, two years after the national news channels NDTV 24×7 (English) and NDTV India (Hindi) — had been carried by DTH operators as NDTV Profit/NDTV Prime, a hybrid adopted in 2014 when it introduced lifestyle and leisure programming under the NDTV Prime name to fill up the non-business-hours (i.e., evening and weekend) schedule. However, the plan was unsuccessful, and on 5 June 2017 NDTV Profit was scrapped altogether, with the resultant channel being named simply NDTV Prime — one that no viewer ever paid any attention to, though it remained available on TV platforms. It continued in this unfortunate state of limbo for all these years until NDTV Profit’s revival now by the Adanis. NDTV already operates a dedicated food, travel and lifestyle channel named Goodtimes, stylised as GOODTiMES and formerly known as NDTV Good Times.
Interestingly, there were plans a few months ago to launch NDTV BQ Prime, a business channel that would have replaced the moribund NDTV Profit brand. This was named after BQ Prime (originally BloombergQuint), a digital business platform and channel that was founded by journalist couple Raghav Bahl and Ritu Kapur’s Quintillion Media — which they established after selling Network18 (including Viacom18) to the Ambanis’ Reliance in 2014 — in partnership with Bloomberg, the global news corporation, and later also acquired by the Adanis. However, the reverse has happened, and BQ Prime has been retired in favour of the revived NDTV Profit brand, which presumably has more equity and resonance with viewers. Bloomberg itself used to operate an Indian TV channel from 2010 to 2016 — originally Bloomberg UTV, then Bloomberg TV India — before this rebranded to BTVI in 2016 and eventually closed in 2019, leaving only CNBC-TV18 and ET Now among English business channels.
The relaunch will finally bring back some much-needed competition to the English business news sector, which has had only two names for the past six years: CNBC-TV18 from the Reliance-owned Network18 and ET Now from The Times Group. Both also have Hindi channels — CNBC Awaaz and the more recent ET Now Swadesh, respectively — which compete with Zee Business. (Zee Media does not have an English business channel.) CNBC-TV18 also has an HD feed, CNBC-TV18 Prime HD — launched all the way back in 2011 — which airs mostly American shows from Wall Street instead of Indian shows, as well as a Gujarati channel, CNBC Bajar, which is the only regional-language business channel. NDTV Profit itself is preparing to launch an HD feed in due course, as we discuss further below.
NDTV Profit’s relaunch is part of a major expansion under the Adanis, with new regional and HD channels
NDTV’s handful of channels have suffered from poor transmission quality
Until its acquisition by the Adani Group, even though NDTV had maintained its reputation as India’s first and most pioneering news broadcaster, it had severely fallen behind in terms of the transmission quality of its channels. Despite there not being many HD news channels in India currently, most national (Hindi and English) news channels and several regional ones air in 16:9 aspect ratio in both their broadcast feeds and online (especially YouTube) live streams — but the pair of NDTV 24×7 and NDTV India was the exception since they use the outdated 4:3 aspect ratio with poor quality. With NDTV Prime more or less dead until its resurrection as NDTV Profit now, the broadcaster’s only other channel so far was Goodtimes — which was not available in HD either, unlike other lifestyle channels.
In contrast, in terms of HD news channels, The Times Group launched both Times Now World (previously Times Now HD) in English and the newer Times Now Navbharat HD in Hindi, while India Today Group did so for Aaj Tak HD — but not the English-language India Today. Zee Media is planning to launch Zee News HD in the short term and has also applied for a trademark registration for WION HD — WION being Zee’s English news channel — though this may take longer to materialise. Though Reliance-owned Network18’s national channels News18 India (Hindi) and CNN-News18 (English) are not planning for HD feeds yet — with CNBC-TV18 Prime HD being its only HD news channel — they have an extensive regional network which NDTV did not have so far.
Among those Hindi national broadcasters without English channels, the independent India TV has started the test transmission of India TV Prime HD; meanwhile ABP News and TV9 Bharatvarsh, among others, air in 16:9 aspect ratio — as do Arnab Goswami’s Republic channels — but are not yet planning HD versions. This is an area where the state broadcaster Doordarshan — which is outdated in several other aspects — actually has an advantage over private networks, as it has not one but three HD news channels: DD News HD (Hindi news), DD India HD (English news) — which was added by Tata Play recently — and Sansad TV HD (Hindi/English parliament), though the last is technically not part of Doordarshan/Prasar Bharati.
NDTV is late to the HD and regional game — but better late than never
However, to make up for its shortfall in terms of broadcast quality, NDTV after its acquisition by the Adani Group has embarked on an unprecedented path in terms of applying for the launch of several upcoming new channels. It has secured licences from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) for as many as 9 new regional channels: NDTV Tamil, NDTV Telugu, NDTV Kannada and NDTV Malayalam in the South; NDTV Madhya Pradesh and NDTV Rajasthan in Hindi regional states; and NDTV Bangla, NDTV Marathi and NDTV Gujarati in non-Hindi, non-South states. (However, NDTV has no plans for Uttar Pradesh and Bihar at present, unlike other news networks like Zee, News18 and ITV Network which are present in all major Hindi states.)
Of these, only the two Hindi regional channels (NDTV Madhya Pradesh and NDTV Rajasthan) have been launched so far — given the recent Assembly elections that were concluded in early December 2023 — with NDTV Gujarati and NDTV Marathi also scheduled for launch in the short term, and the others waiting in the wings. Moreover, NDTV has also acquired broadcast licences for HD feeds of its three main national news channels: NDTV 24×7 HD, NDTV India HD and NDTV Profit HD, which are expected to start their satellite transmission sometime in 2024 at the earliest. This is a much-needed, long-overdue transformation for NDTV, which has otherwise been severely behind the times — despite previously promoting Korean technology giant Samsung’s 4K camera quality on its Galaxy smartphones!
After all planned channels are launched, what will NDTV’s portfolio look like compared to other networks?
As previously published in our article on NDTV’s new planned channels in May 2023, we present a table showing the channels, both national and regional, of major private news broadcasters in the country. NDTV will jump from zero to nine regional markets, and from 5 (after the launches of NDTV MP/CG and Rajasthan) to 15 news channels — 16 channels overall including Goodtimes — which is an impressive growth, though some key states like Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Bihar remain missing for the time being. This will go a long way in transforming its perception from a highbrow, urban, Delhi/Mumbai-centric, Hindi/English-speaking broadcaster to one that connects with the ordinary person across multiple languages and regions.
Note, however, that some national news broadcasters — notably Times and India Today — have only national news channels (like NDTV until 2023) and not regional ones. Though Republic does have Republic Bangla and Republic Kannada — the latter having rebranded from Dighvijay News in 2023 — it is yet to launch any other regional news channel as planned several years before. Still, we have also included them here for the sake of comparison with their competitors.
Also, Zee Hindustan has now been renamed to Zee Bharat, but its planned HD feed (as well as its English counterpart WION’s HD feed) is uncertain — as is the launch of Zee 24 Ghanta North East, for which no further information has been released — and only Zee News seems to be getting an HD version in the near future from Zee Media. Moreover, ABP has discontinued the satellite versions of ABP Ganga (Uttar Pradesh) and ABP Sanjha (Punjab), and they have been converted into digital-only channels — much like Zee had done the same for Zee Odisha News in 2022.
|Zee News (HD upcoming), Zee Bharat (HD planned)
|Aaj Tak (HD), Good News Today, Aaj Tak 2 (digital-only)
|NDTV 24×7 (HD upcoming)
(HD: Times Now World), Mirror Now
|ET Now Swadesh
|NDTV Profit (HD upcoming)
(HD: CNBC-TV18 Prime HD)
|Business Today TV (digital-only)
|ABP Ganga (digital-only)
|India News UP/UK
|India News MP/CG
|India News BR/JH
|India News Rajasthan
|• Zee Punjab/HR/HP
• Zee Delhi NCR Haryana
|ABP Sanjha (digital-only)
|• India News PB/Himachal
• India News Haryana
|• Zee Salaam (Urdu/Hindi)
• Kesar TV J&K/Ladakh
|NDTV Marathi (upcoming)
|Zee 24 Taas
|NDTV Gujarati (upcoming)
|Zee 24 Kalak
|• News18 Gujarati
• CNBC Bajar (business)
|India News Gujarat
|NDTV Bangla (upcoming)
|Zee 24 Ghanta
|India News Bangla
|Zee Odisha News (digital-only)
|Zee 24 Ghanta Assam/NE (upcoming)
|NDTV Kannada (upcoming)
|Zee Kannada News (originally digital-only, now also satellite)
|NDTV Telugu (upcoming)
|Zee Telugu News (originally digital-only, now also satellite)
|ABP Desam (digital platform)
|NDTV Tamil (upcoming)
|Zee Tamil News (digital-only)
|News18 Tamil Nadu
|ABP Nadu (digital platform)
|TV9 Tamil (upcoming)
|NDTV Malayalam (upcoming)
|Zee Malayalam News (digital-only)
|15 (currently 5)
|20 (incl. 3 digital-only) + 5 upcoming
|6 (incl. 2 digital-only + 2 digital platforms)
|6 (incl. 2 digital-only)
These launches will propel NDTV — which already has an enviable reputation as a national news broadcaster — to one of the largest pan-Indian news networks with a presence across many major states. The HD channels, too, will finally bring NDTV into the 21st century with rich picture quality and contrast, and give it an edge over other broadcasters like ABP, News18 (not counting CNBC-TV18 Prime HD) and TV9 which do not have HD channels planned. The resurrection of NDTV Profit as a leading financial news brand — with the Adanis giving it a new lease of life after being mostly dead for six years — is a big milestone in NDTV’s technological transformation that will future-proof it for the years to come.