Times Now to launch by mid-January; test run on

MUMABI: Times Now, the news channel from the Times of India Group, is all set for launch, laying the ground for competition in the English news space so far dominated by NDTV 24X7. Just a fortnight back saw the launch of CNN-IBN whose shareholders include the Television Eighteen Group, Rajdeep Sardesai and Sameer Manchanda.

A test run of the channel is on after the uplinking permission was obtained in December-end. Confirming this, Times Global Broadcasting VP and business head Partho Das Gupta said, ?We kicked off the show reel yesterday. We expect to launch the channel very soon.? 

Sources say Times Now will launch by mid-January. The company has already tied-up with major cable networks such as Hathway Cable & Datacom and Incablenet for carriage of the channel across the country.

The pay channel will target urban audiences, Gupta added. Apart from hardcore general and business news, the channel will have lifestyle programmes. The channel has also firmed up its weekend line-up - Brand Equity, All About Her, Life?s Like That, Entertainment Now, By Invitation Only (to be hosted by Lillete Dubey) and The Foodie, among others.

The channel has roped in the popular model Kelly Dorji for a sports show ? Sports Unplugged. Editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami will anchor several shows including Frankly Speaking and The Newshour ? News in Context. Among the other programmes the channel has lined up are Reuters World Report ( global news), Line Of Duty, Upfront, Snapshots, Nine to Noon and Terminal Cap (business news) and 16 Minutes -- Morning News.

Times Global Broadcasting Company Ltd is a joint venture between Times of India Group and Reuters which holds 26 per cent stake.

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