Television

Tough market forces Punjabi TV players to explore outside By BIJOY A K

MUMBAI: Dealing with a stagnant market, Punjabi television players plan entry into non-Punjabi space for growth.

While the J K Jain - promoted STV Enterprises is planning launch of two news channels covering Haryana and Jammu & Kashmir, the Mahendra Batla-owned MH1 is eyeing both Hindi and international viewers.

STV Enterprises, which runs Punjabi language channels Balle Balle and Punjab Today, is targeting a December 2005 launch for the news channels, with an estimated investment of Rs 150 million. Jain told indiantelevision.com that the company was waiting for the uplinking licence from the I&B Ministry.

"We are also setting up our own teleport on an investment of Rs 50 million. By launching two more regional channels, we are looking to explore the untouched markets," says Jain.

STV's news channel Punjab Today currently has a one-hour news block for Haryana and a 30-minutes band for J&K viewers.

Meanwhile, MH1 is planning to enter the Hindi as well as international markets with channels MH1 Gold and MH1 International respectively. MH1, which enjoys the second position behind ETC Punjabi in the regional space, will have news and entertainment programmes in its proposed Hindi channel.

"MH1 Gold will compete with Hindi channels and will air news, current affairs and entertainment programmes. On the other hand, MH1 International will specially target natives of Punjab spread all over the world. The content will have an extra stress on the regional aspects", says MH1 CEO Pradeep Gangal.

Punjabi regional players are dealing with a stagnant market where Zee Network holds sway with two channels - ETC Channel Punjabi and Zee Punjabi. As already reported by this website, Zee is also planning to launch Khalsa World, a 24-hour religious channel.

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