Cable TV

TV Today Network to launch NCR centric news channel --Delhi Aaj Tak

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MUMBAI: Lack of adequate bandwidth with cable networks be damned. And, notwithstanding the lingering uncertainty over CAS despite a favourable court ruling, TV companies are gung-ho over introduction of new products.

The Aroon Purie-promoted TV Today Network Ltd is poised to launch a 24-hour news channel catering to the national capital region (NCR) of Delhi, which will be the fourth from its stable.

According to cable industry sources, the boxes have to be seeded before a formal launch. The new product is likely to be called Delhi Aaj Tak, trying to cash in on the brand equity of elder sibling and Hindi news market leader Aaj Tak.
The tag line for the new channel would be Delhi Aaj Tak: aapka sehar, aap tak (Delhi Aaj Tak: your city, up close). Sources said that the proposed Delhi-centric Hindi language news channel is looking at going on air in the second quarter of calendar year 2006 (April-June).

According to information available with Indiantelevision.com, the team which will oversee the news channel is already in place. The proposed channel will beam via Insat 2E. The existing news channels from the TV Today stable like Aaj Tak, Headlines Today and Tez beam off the same satellite.

The Delhi-NCR region already has a host of news channels with which Delhi Aaj Tak has to compete. Existing players in this segment include the Sahara NCR, S1 and Total TV. NDTV is also planning a new product to service the metros cities, including Delhi.

However, ahead of the launch of the new product, TV Today has once again become a poaching ground for competitors. Recently, Aaj Tak?s senior anchor and deputy-executive producer Ashutosh had put in his papers to join as the managing editor of Channel7 (to be renamed IBN7), which is part of the TV18 network. It is being said that some other senior TV Today staffers are also likely to quit with new products luring them.

The TV Today scrip, which opened today at Rs 88.60 on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) had touched a high of Rs 92.85.

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