Zee Biz gets government okay, targets 30 November launch

NEW DELHI: The government has finally cleared a Zee proposal to start a business news channel, which is now slated to make its formal debut on 30 November.

The clearance for the business news channel, named ZeeBiz, came last week from the information and broadcasting ministry, according to government sources.

Earlier, Zee had tried to soft-launch the business news channel on the Dish TV DTH platform, 20 per cent owned by Zee Telefilms, contending that government permission was not necessary to start channels on a DTH platform.

The move was withdrawn after I&B ministry made appropriate noises that government permission was a must for launching a news channel even on a DTH platform.

Having got the clearance, Zee Biz would kick off both on the cable and DTH platforms simultaneously as a 24-hour channel in a digitally encrypted format. The uplinking would take place from Zee News headquartered in Noida on the outskirts of Delhi.

If ZeeBiz does manage to keep its date with lady luck this time on 30 November, it would be the first off the block of a series of new launches lining up in the business news segment.

The other Hindi language business news channel being planned come from the stables of Television Eighteen, scheduled for a December launch, and NDTV. The latter's launch date is still not clear as it was supposed to have been launched this year only.

ZeeBiz, along with the other proposed channels, are attempting to broadbase viewership by targeting the huge Indian middle class whose interest in capital markets and other aspects of business has increased with the economy doing fairly well over the last two years and general awareness.

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