BBC scouting for partners in India for Hindi and Urdu news channel services

MUMBAI: The British Broadcasting Corporation is scouting for joint venture partners for launching television news channel services in Hindi and Urdu languages in India.

"We are launching a 24-hour news channel in Arabic next year and we are looking at television services in Hindi and Urdu. They will be joint ventures," BBC World Service business development manager Michel Lobelle told reporters in Colombo, according to news agency PTI report.

The expansion of television saw a slight dip in radio listenership in India but, it is on the rise again with more people tuning into radios, he said.

In India, the Corporation has already entered into partnership on various fronts such as magazine and radio. The BBC Worldwide owns 50 per cent of the Times of India's magazines subsidiary including its selling titles, FilmFare and Femina. In August 2005, Top Gear magazine launched in India making it the first BBC magazine from the joint venture.

On the radio front, the BBC Worldwide has partnered with Radio Mid-Day West (India) Private Ltd. The company has won bids for six cities including Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Pune.

The Corporation also announced its rebroadcasting deal with Sri Lanka's state-run Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) radio.

The SLBC radio will rebroadcast nine hours of BBC programmes under the new deal, Lobelle said, adding that the deal provides an opportunity for Lankans to easily access BBC programmes through a network of FM channels.

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