Bilingual health channel Care TV debuts 11 December

MUMBAI: Care TV, Asia's first health channel, is finally making a formal debut tomorrow after a two-month test run. 

Live Satellite Media (LSM) CMD Atul Saraf told that the channel will debut with 6-8 hours of programming but will be going 24x7 in another six months.

Moving in to gain from the first mover advantage, Saraf's LSM had recently acquired Care TV from Tanu Healthcare. Though Saraf did not reveal the details of the acquisition deal with Tanu Healthcare, he said that the company was looking at an investment of Rs 250 million towards operations and programming content in the first year of operations. "Care TV will continue with its running format," Saraf clarified.

"LSM has the sales and distribution rights for Care TV while Take Care TV Pvt Ltd will handle the programming, operations and management of the channel," he added.

Saraf, who has 100 per cent holding in LSM, declined to divulge his stake in the recently floated Take Care TV Pvt Ltd, which is being co-promoted by Ajit Gupta. Gupta has worked with Zee, Astha and CMM and has spent 17 years in the central government in various departments.

When asked how the channel was pitching itself in the market, Saraf said that as of now LSM was using ground promotions to generate awareness about the channel. "We are also talking to various channels for on air promotions," he added. The channel is looking at a market reach of 20 million households by the end of the quarter ending January 2004.

The channel's programming content is slated to cover a wide spectrum of programmes including a live interactive show which allows viewers to call in with their queries and speak to a panel of doctors. Apart from the interactive show, the channel will be launching two new programmes called Ek Duje Ke Liye, Mera Astitva and other programmes on alternative therapy as well. According to Saraf, programming content will largely focus on what the common man needs and hence will be bilingual. The free-to-air channel is being broadcast via a Thaicom satellite.

Saraf also referred to LSM's tie up with Perfect Monitoring Services, explaining that Perfect Monitoring will be screening cable transmission and the reports generated on the cable advertisements will be provided free of cost to clients. Also, according to a company release, this would go a long way in reviving regional cable advertising, which was dying a slow death.

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