NDTV pulling all stops for channels' launch

NEW DELHI: Well, news is filtering out from the closely guarded headquarters of the Capital-based TV software company-and-soon-to-turn-broadcaster NDTV.

The two proposed news channels from Prannoy Roy’s company are likely to be called NDTV News in English and NDTV Samachar in Hindi. The company has already unveiled a new logo, designed by US-based TAG that is being sported by the gun mikes used by correspondents for reporting on Star News.

However, NDTV World, the subsidiary of NDTV that will look after the running of the Hindi channel, is yet to receive permission from the government for uplinking from India. Along with the likes of Star, TV Today Network (Aaj Tak) and Rajat Sharma’s Independent News Service, NDTV World too is waiting for the Indian government to take a stand on new norms for news channels uplinking from India (including ownership and equity patterns), as has been repeatedly advocated by various ministers in the government.

The two channels, as per Roy’s assertions during a rare interaction with journalists last month, will not be launched in a phased manner, but simltaneously around 1 April. NDTV’s five-year content deal for Star News channel with Star ends on 31 March 2003.

Though Roy has steadfastly refused to divulge much detail about the news project, satellite industry sources have indicated that the two NDTV channels, along with those of Sony Entertainment TV and Discovery, are likely to be beamed through Panamsat 10, a new generation satellite that was co-located with PAS-4.

Meanwhile, NDTV is pushing ahead with other aspects of a broadcasting company, including recruiting personnel for editorial, marketing and ad sales. Some marketing and ad sales professionals, earlier working with Star India, are rumoured to be joining NDTV. However it is not clear whether Raj Nayak, former executive vice-president (ad sales) of Star India, would also be involved with NDTV directly or indirectly.

On the technology front, NDTV is pulling out all the stops in an effort to dish out news in a state-of-the-art format with `cut-offs’ for local news for various regions.

NDTV has also ordered eyeheight master control equipment for integration with its in-house automation system. The contract is through India-based, Benchmark Microsystems, a leading local broadcast systems integrator.

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