New Kid on the Hindi news block: Jia News

MUMBAI: Starting 5 October, 7:00 am onward, the Hindi news space will see one more channel going live.

Named Jia News, after channel chairman Rohan Jagdale’s daughter, the channel, whose slogan reads: ‘Ehsaas Badlav Ka’ (Feel the change), is looking to tap people’s spiritual side apart from giving them their daily fix of news and current affairs.

About five months ago, Jagdale and his wife who is channel director Madhulika, started work on Jia, which also stands for ‘Journalist in Action’.

Equipped with a head office in Noida, 16 bureaus in states like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana, and a staff of 150 people including journalists, cameramen and stringers, Jia will air 60 per cent current affairs and 10 per cent sports and 10 per cent entertainment  as part of its programming strategy. As of now, no south Indian state has been included and news from the southern region will be through tie-ups with ANI. Joy Sebastian has been appointed channel head while Ashish Mishra is chief editor. The hunt for a CEO is still on.

Interestingly, Jagdale, who has an oil and gas business, has funded Jia entirely out of his own pocket. “I have started the channel on emotions and feelings,” he says.

Unlike other channel launches, no big marketing campaign has been planned. Reason is Jagdale wants to first reach out to school and college students by hosting debates and elocutions and making them understand the importance of Hindi as a language. “Hindi as a language has become something of a burden and I want to change that,” he says. Promos will be uploaded on the Internet on the day of the launch.

Initially available on cable TV only, Jagdale plans to touch nearly 1.5 crore people. The web page will be launched on the tenth of this month. The channel also plans to have spiritual shows to help people relax and relieve stress.

Given the rash of Hindi channels lately, it remains to be seen whether Jia will manage to stand out from the crowd.

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