Sahara targets Feb-end launch for Delhi-specific news channel D1

MUMBAI: Sahara is all set to unleash D1 for the people of Delhi that will cover among other things, local news, campus happenings and shopping options.

The National Capital Region-centric TV channel from the Sahara stable, which has been in the pipeline for quite some time now, is expected to launch by February-end or early March. Going by the project name of D1, the 24-hour news and infotainment channel promises to jazz up things at local level with pacy and relevant programming.

Some other names under consideration for the NCR channel include D'Metro. Pointing out that the proposed channel will be targeting a different news segment besides politics, Sahara India Media and Entertainment senior vice president Ambikanand Sahay explained, "Political news is not the be all and end all. Our NCR-centric channel channel would cater to the needs of the capital's people in various ways."

According to Sahay, ?The NCR news channel, using both English and Hindi languages, would see a wide canvas of news. Our aim is to provide information on shopping, entertainment, property and real estate, to name a few areas."

Still there is no denying that the proposed NCR channel, which may face competition from similar fare soon, is looking at being almost an upmarket TV equivalent of Delhi Times or HT City, the city-specific supplements that come with The Times of India or Hindustan Times respectively.

Sanjay Kaw, a former journalist with The Times of India, will head the NCR channel that will have a strength of nearly 140 professionals with about 30 news reporters. Pointed out Sahay, "Bright, young reporters, all below 28 years of age, with a modern mind-set would be the mainstay of D1."

The channel starts trial runs from today and will beam off the Asiasat 3S satellite. The channel is in the process of distributing the digital decoder boxes and SIME executives expect that over the next week to 10 days all the 114-odd cable networks in the NCR region would have been covered.

D1 would extensively use live feeds through OB vans, placed at strategic points in Delhi and elsewhere, to keep the viewer interest high, says Sahay.

In the recent past, the group launched 24-hour free-to-air regional news channel for Bihar and Jharkhand. This forms part of the Sahara Samay bouquet as the fourth news channel. The company plans to launch six more regional channels in 2005.



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