Postioned as Malayalam entertainment channel, Amrita TV targets 14 April launch

MUMBAI: For over a year, the common belief was that Amrita TV would be a spiritual and cultural channel. It was, after all, named after Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, renowned spiritual leader from Kerala.

Putting all speculation to rest, channel authorities confirm that Amrita TV will be positioned as a general entertainment channel. Pitted to compete against Asianet and Surya TV, the channel has planned a 14 April launch.

"We have proposed 14 April as the date of launch. But we are waiting for 'Amma' (Mata) to decide on the auspicious day," says Amrita TV executive director Suresh Narayan.

Amrita Enterprises Pvt Ltd, promoted by a group of investors closely associated with Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, is investing Rs 500 million to set up the infrastructure and acquire for telecast movies, serials, music shows and educational content.

"We have acquired over 100 movies. We are investing Rs 300 million towards infrastructure and Rs 200 million on content," says Narayan.

The 24-hour free-to-air channel, of course, hopes to benefit from the footage of "Amma" which it will telecast regularly. "Amma", however, will not do any special shows for the channel.

To be uplinked out of Thiruvananthapuraam, Amrita TV will dedicate five hours towards news and current affairs programming. The plan is to also include spiritual programming in the next stage, says Narayan.

To connect to the Malayali expat audience segment in the international space, Amrita TV also plans to go global. "Definitely we will go global. But we haven't fixed the timing yet," he says.

The idea for the channel was first floated in September 2003 on the much hyped 50th birthday celebrations of Mata Amritanandamayi Devi.

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