Sahara TV revving up for major push

The television industry has dismissed Sahara TV as a lost cause. Eyes have mainly been on Star, Zee and Sony Entertainment. However, if the aggressive stance that is emerging from Sahara is anything to go by, the industry may well be wrong in taking their sights off the ethnic channel.

While Sahara has dropped its plans to launch a clutch of channels to build up a network, it is moving ahead on all four cylinders on its mother channel. Sahara TV promoter Subroto Roy has brought in external help to help it get that extra edge. A committee consisting of Modi Entertainment Group's Buena Vista Television CEO Pratik Basu, programming head Basaav Raj, its advertising agency Percept Advertising's promoters Harindra and Shailendra Singh, and other senior managers from within the company. While Buena Vista is handling the ad sales, the Percept duo along with the Sahara team are looking after programming and marketing of the channel.

And the result of their inputs is already beginning to show. Better and more focused outdoor promotions, and slicker on-air promos - translating into a jazzier Sahara TV. An industry Source indicates that the current initiative is part of a larger gameplan to relaunch the channel. The effort will culminate in a big bang in the coming festival season.

"The FPC is going to change considerably, and there will be sustained marketing activity," she says. "Currently, three properties are being developed: "Haqeeqat", "Daman" and "Draupadi". Additionally, the Sunday Hindi movie block will also see some activity."

Some RS 100-120 million has been set aside for this. If one adds the fact that the Sahara group has bagged the sponsorship for the Indian cricket team, one can be sure the Sahara group will be ubiquitous in most media.

Who has cause to worry? People say that Sabe TV and Sony Entertainment are likely to be hit courtesy the Sahara march. Reason: they have yet to get their act together on the programming front.

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