Television

Times defers biz channel to next year

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NEW DELHI: Their business channel can wait till next year. The Times of India Group is more interested in an entertainment channel to be followed by a spiritual one this year, both of which would carry a nominal subscription fee.

Pointing out that the plans for a business channel have been deferred for the next year, Bennett, Coleman and Co (Ltd) MD Vineet Jain told indiantelevision.com today, "The entertainment channel should be on air by November, followed by the spiritual."

The channel launch sequence set out by Jain only confirms a report indiantelevision.com had carried in the beginning of April about Times TV's plans .

Jain added that since the two channels would be digital, decoder boxes would have to be distributed. "There would also be a nominal price charged for the channels," he said, hinting that both the channels may be clubbed together and sold for distribution purposes.

While the entertainment channel will be called Zoom, names for the spiritual and business channels haven't seen finalised. Both the proposed channels would be beamed off the PAS-10 satellite.

Without specifying the format of Zoom, the channel to be launched in the last quarter of 2004, Jain said that it would be a general entertainment channel in 'Hinglish' (a combination of Hindi and English) as 'the primary target audience would be in the metros'.

He is confident about a market for this type of an entertainment channel.

Jain clarified, "Even the ad sales team of ours is not aware of the content and format yet."

Meanwhile, he also confirmed that Arnab Goswami, formerly of NDTV 24x7, has joined the Times' TV venture as head of programming for the business channel. The group is also looking for Goswami's counterparts for Zoom and the spiritual channel.

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