SABe TV begins local uplink

MUMBAI: The Adhikari brother's promoted Sri Adhikari Brothers Television Network Ltd (SABTNL) has officially launched local uplinking operations as of yesterday.

"Conforming to Information and Broadcasting ministry guidelines for uplink channels, SABe TV's is the first Hindi General Entertainment channel to migrate from Singapore to India," an official statement released to the Bombay Stock Exchange says.

The uplinking is being done from the Essel-Shyam Telecom facility in Noida on the outskirts of Delhi, for which SABTNL had earlier secured government clearance. As per SABTNL's initial uplink launch schedule, it was to begin local operations from 1 October 2002.

Local uplink will reportedly result in a cost saving of Rs 10 million a year for SABTNL. But even more significant for SAB than the operational cost savings is the new government policy that allows non-exporting companies (local advertisers) to advertise on satellite channels as well. These local advertisers will improve commercial time utilisation rate and spot rates; they are also expected to drive advertisement revenues in the future. With the local market opening up, all broadcasters are aggressively wooing local advertisers.

Markand Adhikari, vice chairman and managing director of SABTNL, has been earlier quoted as saying he estimates the size of the local advertising market at Rs 4 billion and says SAB will be looking to aggressively tap that.

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