Raj TV to go pay from 1 Feb, launch Telegu, Tamil music channel

MUMBAI: All the channels are stepping up preparations for gearing towards the implementation of conditional access system (CAS).

Raj TV plans to go pay with effect from 1 February, close on the heels of Gemini TV.

Several cable operators in western and northern parts of the country, meanwhile, have pulled these vernacular language channels from the prime band unless the viewers ask for the same.

As for Raj TV's plans, on the anvil is a revamp of the current programming mix. The channel is also in the process of setting up a new Tamil music channel, and also plans to get into film production, reports say. Raj has also announced the launch of a Telegu channel.

According to media reports, Raj TV plans to invest an estimated Rs 1billion in launching a Telugu channel in March 2003, for which talks are on with venture capitalists. Cinevistaas, AVM and Telephoto Entertainment are among those that are slated to produce new shows for the revamped Raj TV.

The new Telugu channel will however be a news based channel aimed at the rural population as well as women in Andhra Pradesh. Sun's Gemini and Eenadu's ETV are the current top contenders in the satellite channel stakes in the state. The new channel will have a new logo, a new name and a fresh infusion of manpower.

Raj TV, which has teleport facilities in Chennai, will uplink the new channel from the same facility.

As part of the value additions the long delayed music channel from Raj TV, tentatively titled Melody, intends a soft launch around Valentine's Day. It would offer primarily Tamil music (70 per cent) while other regional fare would comprise about 30 per cent.

Having made three mid-budget films, feature length film production is also a venture Raj TV plans to explore. The intention now is to get bigger budget films produced with popular stars.

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