Jain TV to start new innings as business news channel with budget specials

NEW DELHI: Where the Videocon group has failed till now, the financially beleaguered, but yet surviving Jain TV may just succeed. After a complete programming revamp, the channel based in Delhi is poised to become the first free-to-air business and news channel in Hindi.

The campaign begins with Mere Sau Rupaye - a series of special programmes - leading up to the presentation of the Union Budget in Parliament on 28 February.

Speaking about the new initiatives, promoter Dr JK Jain's son and Jain Television's managing editor, Ankur Jain said, "Unlike yesteryears, today Budget and business news interests all, whereas the news reaches a fraction of this population. We have tried to make such complex business and finance matters simpler (are the likes of Prannoy Roy and Raghav Bahl listening?). We will be reaching a much larger section of viewers and consumers of news by presenting it in a way that people find easy to understand."

Though Jain Television takes the credit for being the first private television channel to bring news in India in the mid-90s, it has been beset with problems linked to some bad business decisions, a cash crunch and low visibility because of poor distribution deals. The promoter's clash with the powers that be in the Bharatiya Janata Party (the party that leads the coalition government in India at present) over some programmes telecast over the last 18 months has not helped the cause either. Especially since Dr Jain has been a former BJP Member of Parliament.

But the younger Jain is optimistic. Pointing out that Jain TV aims to reach the majority of the 40-odd million cable and satellite homes, he said: "In India, out of 40 million C&S households, approximately 16 million pay less than Rs 75 per month to receive cable TV. These households do not receive all the pay channels such as most of the leading news and business channels. These households constitute the 'pay dark region' where Jain Television will be the only channel bringing in business information and free to air news."

According to Jain, Mere Sau Rupaye programme will aim to simplify the intricacies of the Budget for the masses. Other programmes include Agar Aap FM Hote (If You Were the Finance Minister) and Kya Aap Jante Hain? (Do You Know?).

The new look Jain Television will sport a 24-hour data screen with facts and figures on essential business and finance variables such as forex, bullion, stocks, bonds, commodities, petroleum, money and debts markets and the news that affects these markets. This will be facilitated with the help of a new automated data vending software, which is expected to usher in the concept of 'always on TV'. This would enable viewers to receive information they need in the format they need and at a time of their convenience as in the newspapers.

But Jain was not forthcoming with more technical details.

Can the company, which owns a teleport and uplinking licence, take on the increasing competition? People will have to sart watching Jain TV to know the answer.

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