How Do Stock Exchange Quotes Get on Television?


How Do Stock Exchange Quotes Get on Television?

Every weekday, just before the evening news, Swiss Television presents the latest stock market prices on its financial news show SRF Börse. Where do the quotes actually come from? And how do they get on TV?

What happens on the stock exchange concerns everyone, regardless of whether you’re invested in stocks or other securities. Even people who don’t have a securities custody account are nonetheless invested in the securities market one way or another at least through their pension funds.

That’s why it’s important for the media to inform the public about developments on the stock exchange. The Swiss Radio and Television Corporation (Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen – SRF) reserves a broadcast slot every weekday at 7:25 pm to do that. On the show SRF Börse, SRF’s business editors inform viewers about current topics surrounding the stock market shortly after the close of the stock exchange. One personality who regularly appears before the camera is Andi Lüscher. He has worked as an anchorman and editor for SRF for more than ten years now, initially on radio and then on the TV show SRF Börse since 2018.

“Economics topics are extremely important and play a role in all areas of life. The securities exchange is an essential part of the economy. We are all invested in the securities market one way or another. This makes the topics very pertinent. Our job on SRF Börse is to convey all the subject matter to viewers in a way that’s interesting and understandable,” Lüscher says.

Every weekday he gets a little more than two minutes of prime time just before the start of the evening news to do that. While Lüscher anchors the show, viewers see the latest stock market prices scroll across the bottom of their TV screens. Quotes for individual stocks and major indices like the SMI and prices for precious metals and commodities like gold and crude oil are displayed. But how do they get on TV? And what other financial data can the business editors at SRF resort to for their research?

Where Do Stock Market Prices Come From?

The price data for the TV show SRF Börse come from SIX. SIX normalizes, consolidates, and validates data on more than 30 million financial instruments. SIX obtains the data from over 1,800 different sources worldwide including other securities exchanges and trading venues such as Germany’s Deutsche Börse and the New York Stock Exchange, as well as from banks, brokerages, and unstructured sources such as product prospectuses and publications for shareholders.

How Does SIX Process the Data?

The price data that SRF needs for its reporting are transmitted to SIX via data feeds, which means that SIX receives a continuous enormous inflow of data. Although the data are subject to certain standardization guidelines, they nevertheless arrive in a wide array of different formats. SIX’s job is to normalize the data. Stated simply, this means that SIX standardizes all data in a single format before forwarding it to customers. This entire process takes place within milliseconds. Every day, SIX processes around 16 billion price updates on financial instruments, working out to an average of around 185,000 updates per second.

Aired 100 Times a Week on Radio

The stock market price data from SIX are not just broadcasted by SRF on television, but are also read aloud on radio several times a day. You perhaps are familiar with words “and now to the stock exchange data from SIX” since they are recited more than 100 times a week – whenever one of SRF’s six different radio stations reports the latest stock market prices.

SIX iD as a Research Tool

Once the data have been collected, normalized, consolidated, and validated, they are transmitted to customers. In the case of SRF, two different products are used to transmit the data: SIX iD and apiD. The “iD” in SIX iD stands for “intelligent display.” It’s a display application that efficiently visualizes stock exchange quotes. It’s kind of like a proprietary website that the editors at SRF can use to research price data as well as reference data.

The editorial staff mainly uses SIX iD for research purposes, Lüscher says: “When we’re putting together a story, historical price data are very important to us because they enable us to paint a complete picture and not just an up-to-the-minute snapshot.” Apart from that, SIX iD also supplies other data such as master data and corporate actions data, for example. “Every now and then I need additional information for a story. I, for instance, want to know the identity of a corporation’s biggest shareholders or how much dividends a company pays,” Lüscher says.

Displaying Price Data on TV with apiD

The second product that SRF uses is called apiD, which is a programmable interface that works kind of like an intermediary between SIX and SRF. SIX gives SRF access to its financial data through apiD.

Afterwards SRF has the ability to program its systems so that the right data can be extracted from the program in the right layout. This way, SRF can fade in the stock market prices that scroll across the chyron during the show, and the editorial staff can create graphics and performance charts in the SRF layout with just a few mouse clicks.

The Securities Exchange: a Hectic Environment

The stock market prices from SIX always appear in real time and not with a 15-minute delay as is typical on many other platforms. That’s vitally important for SRF Börse, Lüscher explains: “After the close of the stock exchange, we always wait five minutes until the last trades of the day have been cleared and settled. Then we immediately tape the show. It’s important to us to be able to get started right after the securities exchange closes because we have to be finished by 6:00 pm. Then the production takes care of the following shows.”

Lüscher and his team are accustomed to an element of hecticness because it is in the nature of the stock market and daily journalism that a lot can change in a few split seconds. That leads now and then to abrupt alterations in the program, Lüscher recounts: “Sometimes something unexpected happens during the day. I just recently had planned to do a show on cryptocurrencies, but then suddenly the SMI plummeted by 3.8 percent. When that happens in the daytime, we can’t report on cryptos in the evening. So, we had to rescript the show and look for an analyst we could interview about the stock market plunge. We ran the crypto story two days later.”

Making the Complex Simple

The hustle and bustle on securities exchanges is one of the challenges that the editors of SRF Börse are confronted with every day. Another challenge is making the often highly complex proceedings on securities exchanges understandable to a wide audience, even if SRF Börse frequently brings in stock market experts such as bank analysts. “They watch the program mainly because their clients do. That way they know what their clients will be talking about tomorrow,” Lüscher says, putting that into perspective. “But people with genuine stock-market savvy account for only a small part of our audience. The bulk of our viewership simply has a general interest in news and tunes in five minutes before the evening news starts to catch up also on some business stories.”

SRF Börse therefore doesn’t bandy around a lot of technical jargon and numbers. “There’s always a story somewhere behind all the numbers and complicated media releases, and we try to relay it to our audience in a simple manner. That’s our job.” And SRF has a reliable partner in SIX for all of the pertinent data it needs to tell those stories.

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