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ETV Urdu hopes to score on the programming front

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Going strong on its expansion plan despite the depressed media scenario, the Ramoji Rao owned Eenadu Television Network on Wednesday added "ETV Urdu" to their kitty of regional channels. The 24-hour free-to-air digital channel was finally launched on 15 August (Independence Day) after a long wait by the chief editor Eenadu group of publications and chairman of the Ramoji Film City (RFC), CH Ramoji Rao, at the RFC complex in Hyderabad.     

ETV has been building its programming content for the Urdu channel for more than one-and-a-half years now. The target audience will not only be the Urdu-speaking audiences in India but also the Gulf countries. The Urdu spoken on the channel will not be pure Urdu (which not many people understand) but that spoken by common people so as to give it a broader viewership, company officials say.

The Channel will have a fair mix of entertainment and information with hourly news updates, telefilms, family dramas, daily soaps, devotional and musical programmes. The USP of the channel will be fresh and original programming rather than dubbed or outsourced programmes, say officials.

Khaas Baat (Urdu News)

Special efforts have been taken to strengthen the news section. Khaas Baat, a news capsule specially designed to cover Urdu speaking areas. ETV has tied up with Reuters Television, CNN International and Transworld International so as to ensure comprehensive coverage of international news and current affairs, according to a company release.

Adakaar is a weekly acting competition hosted by well known actor Nirmal Pandey. And for those die-hard fans of Urdu poetry, Mushaira, a monthly mega event of lyrical excitement, will quench their thirst.

To develop the channel's indentity, films will not be shown in the initial period. Instead telefilms are being produced that will be telecast exclusively on the channel. Game shows, talk shows and song-based programmes like Mehfil, Gazal Sara, Qawwali are also going to be an intrinsic part of the programming.

The majority of the programming is being done in-house though there are some programmes which are on commissioned basis. The network's headquarters is in Hyderabad.

On the ad rate front, the figures being quoted would appear a tad optimistic and it remains to be seen whether the channel will be able to get buyers for its time slots. Spot rate for prime time (7pm to 10pm) has been kept at Rs 20,000 as per the rate card. Industry sources say as of now no advertiser has been confirmed though talks are going on.

A still from the serial Tumhara Intezar Hai

Even on the distribution front, the channel is likely to face a long haul. According to industry sources, cable connectivity is going to be a major issue the channel will face. In this direction, channel executives have been contacting cable operators in Mumbai and also distributing set top boxes.

That apart, looking at the past record of the group and the amount of homework done by ETV Urdu as far as its programming goes, the channel is certainly expected to make a difference in today's cluttered scenario.

ETV already has Telugu, Bengali, Marathi and Kannada channels. Next in the pipeline from the ETV stable are Gujarati and Oriya channels.

Technical Specification :

ETV Urdu:

Satellite - APR-I (INSAT-2E) at 83.5 degree East

Downlink frequency - 4005 MHz

Downlink Polarisartion - Vertical

Symbol rate - 27000 Kg Symbol/sec

FEC - 3/4

Downlink EIRP - 38 dbW

Signal type Digital,MPEG 2/clear

Free-To-Air.

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