NDTV toys with regional variant

NEW DELHI: The Prannoy Roy-promoted NDTV Ltd has drawn up plans to reach out to the grassroots by starting a new news channel where the focus would be more on regional and local news instead of national and international happenings.

This yet-to-be-named product is part of NDTV?s move to broadbase and reflects its ambitions to have a bouquet of its own channels catering to various genre of popular television broadcasting. An uplink permission for this channel has been sought from the government.

According to broadcast industry sources, after having launched three news channels, of which one is the clear leader in its segment, another is going toe-to-toe with the till now sole player and a third is a strong Number Two, NDTV is now trying to focus on a product that would highlight local news of various regions, including the metros.

This is also being seen as a move to counter the growing dominance of regional channels like ETV, Sahara and now even Star.

?The full content line-up of the proposed channel is still being ideated and fine-tuned. Though, in principle, it has been decided that a new news channel with emphasis on local news of various regions does have potential to be marketed,? an industry source familiar with this development told

According to a recent JP Morgan research report, in the $4.5 billion Indian entertainment industry, the advertising industry is expected to grow strongly by around 12 per cent in FY 2006-2008. TV will increase its share of ad pie from 47 per cent to 50 per cent in the next three years to cross Rs 50 billion, the report states. Not surprisingly, within the TV segment, news broadcasting is the fastest growing one.

It is learnt that the proposed channel would have programming based on lifestyle and nightlife of various cities too, along with other local news that would be useful for regional viewers. The probability of the new product being in English language is high as it would have wider appeal. However, a NDTV Profit-type format is also not being ruled out. The business channel has programming that uses both the Hindi and English languages.

If everything goes well, which includes getting various permissions from the government, the new channel from the NDTV stable is likely to go on air within three months time.

At the moment, NDTV has three news channels --- NDTV 24x7 in English, NDTV India in Hindi and business channel NDTV Profit.

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