Sahara set to soft launch two more region-specific news channels 1 September

MUMBAI: More competition is coming everybody's way on the news channel front.

With Sushanto Roy, heir to the Sahara empire, having just taken over as the chief whip of the group's media business, among the first decisions he took was to okay and bring forward the launch date of the Sahara Samay news channel for Madhya Pradesh (MP). Set for a soft launch alongside Sahara Samay MP is Sahara Samay Mumbai as well.

Sahara Samay Mumbai's launch had been delayed partly because of a massive fire that gutted the company's office complex in the western suburb of Goregaon in January. The complex also houses the Sahara Samay Mumbai news centre and imported equipment was destroyed in the blaze.

Speaking to last night on the sidelines of a media briefing to announce the relaunch of Sahara's Rs 600-million magum opus Karishma The Miracles Of Destiny, Roy confirmed that Sahara Samay Mumbai and Sahara Samay MP would be soft-launched on 1 September. The official launch is scheduled for 15 September with the interrim two-week period being utilised to fine-tune proceedings.

Queried as to how he hoped to perk up the group's main news channel Sahara Samay Rashtriya, which had failed to keep the momentum going after an impressive start, Roy said an aggressive marketing push was in the pipeline to increase awareness levels. All the various media platforms available to the group, including the entertainment channel Sahara TV, would be roped in as part of this effort, Roy said. It would be a virtual relaunch of the channel and would coincide with the launch of the Mumbai and MP channels, he added.

Sahara Samay Mumbai, meanwhile, will cover news from three states - Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa - while Sahara Samay MP, as the name suggests, will cover the state of Madhya Pradesh.

With the launch of the two channels, the number of region specific channels in the Sahara Samay family will go up to three (Sahara Samay UP has already launched) in addition to the main Sahara Samay Rashtriya channel.

There are three more region-specific channels that are slated to launch in a phased manner over the coming months - Rajasthan, Bihar and National Capital Region (NCR).

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