Cable operators launch shopping and comedy channel

A satellite television channel with a difference was launched on Thursday. The difference is the channel was launched by an Indian cable TV consortium led by Mumbai-based Live Satellite Media promoter Atul Saraf. Branded SN (Shopping Network) TV, it is positioned as a shopping and comedy channel and is in beta testing stage off a transponder on Thaicom-3.

For starters, it will have a four hour block of programming repeated through the day. This will go up to eight hours of original content over time and the ultimate aim is to become a 24-hour free-to-air channel.

Says Saraf: "We will have home shopping programming shorts but we will also offer advertisers the facilities of going beyond just a TV commercial, we will air infomercials. For instance, Phillips can explain clearly what a Flat Square Tube is in its commercial, instead of just airing attractive ads."

Saraf expects the channel to do well. "Live Satellite is a company that gets advertising to the tune of Rs 100,000 for almost 1,200 cable TV operators all over India," he says. "These cable TV operators will support us and we are not really interested in going in for funding at this stage."

The channel is targeted at the eastern, western and northern Indian markets.

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