Jagran's Channel 7 launches 27 March with presence in 20 million homes

MUMBAI: Another news channel is finally ready to plunge into the already cluttered news space in Indian television. Jagran TV Pvt Limited's news channel, Channel 7, will go an air on 27 March. The group is leaving no stones unturned to ensure that the channel has a presence in 20 million households from day one.

While many a player pay carriage fee to cable operators, to admit the same openly is a taboo. On the other hand, Channel 7 director Siddhartha Gupta has no qualms admitting that the group has paid carriage fee to ensure wide distribution of the channel. "While we will be present in 20 million homes from the day of launch, our target is to reach 28 million after a month of launch," Gupta asserts.

Channel 7 will be primarily a premium 24-hour free to air news channel in Hindi, laced with non-fictional programming. Permission from the information and broadcasting ministry was received last month and the channel will beam from the Insat II E satellite. Rather than naming the channel on the lines of Jagran, the group has decided to name it Channel 7 as both products have different identities and brand properties.

The emphasis will be to interpret news as it impacts audiences and presented in a format that is both novel and contemporary in its approach and treatment. Says Gupta, "The core idea of this channel is innovation and the dire need to be different. There will be a lot of focus on non-fiction content from segments like crime, automobiles, cookery and lifestyle".

An emphasis on non-fictional programming is being laid as a survey carried out by Jagran highlighted people's requirement from news channels was more than just political and sports news. "Our non fiction content will be somewhat on the lines of National Geographic and The Discovery Channel, but will have a distinct Indian flavour," Gupta adds.

The news and information channel is headquartered in Film City, Noida (on the outskirts of Delhi) and will begin with a 25-bureau network across the country, which will be further increased in the months to come.

"Tele-viewers are gradually moving towards appointment-viewing, rather than the random sampling, as was the initial case with news channels. Beyond the core, which is news, we shall win the loyalty of audiences by beaming superior and innovative content that is in accordance to the company's exhaustive research on viewer expectations.

"The channel aims to occupy a top three slot in the first year and gradually move towards the numero uno slot," says a confident Gupta.

The packaging of the channel has been done by the Sydney based design solution company Bruce Dunlop & Associates (BDA), which has done work for the likes of Hallmark, ITV and Disney.

The editorial team will be under former Sahara Samay national channel head Arup Ghosh, who is the director - news for the channel. On the technical front, Channel 7 is equipped with the best newsroom and newsgathering technology available to broadcasters today. This includes Associate Press? ENPS software, Leitch editing and servers, VIZ RT Graphic Systems as well as various Dell, Thomson, Panasonic and Ikegami broadcasting equipment. The channel's current manpower strength is over 300.

As far as the marketing and advertising activities to promote the channel are concerned, Gupta says that Jagran will be unleashing a 360 degrees campaign, including print, television, outdoor, cinema and the Internet, which will go on for almost two months. While in North India, the campaign will be print-centric, in Maharashtra and other parts of the country, stress will be laid on outdoor. Gupta said that channel had already secured a good advertisers' base.

While, the group has gone the whole hog in making sure that the new channel gets a red carpet launch, it remains to be seen whether it lives up to expectatins.

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