"We have got the permission to uplink from India and are soon set
to launch an entertainment channel Nepal One that, I am sure, would
become the No. 1 channel for Nepal," Nalini Singh told indiantelevision.com.
The venture will be done through her company, TV Live India..
The permission for uplinking from Indian government was sought
sometime in November and the permission came through recently without
the prying media able to sniff out the information.
Nepal One, primarily targeting the Nepal cable homes and people
of Nepalese origin in India, would be beamed via Thaicom 3 satellite
and uplinked from Delhi, Singh said.
Nepal One would have a mix of music, entertainment and news and
current affairs programming, including Nepalese and Hindi films
to attract viewers in Nepal and across the border in India in places
like the North-East. As an added sop, the channel would also have
some programming in Bhojpouri language that is predominantly spoken
in the erstwhile Bihar state, which has now been broken up in three
However, Singh was not willing to talk money and avoided questions
on the investment being made, though indiantelevision.com learns
from reliable industry sources that a Nepalese businessman is putting
in money in the venture.
"There are talks in the industry that the Nepal One venture may
cost Rs 150 crore (Rs 1.5 billion). There is also the mention of
a Rs 500 crore (Rs 5 billion) figure, but I am not telling anything
on the investment side," Singh said, adding, however, the "necessary
investments" would be made with the effort being to avoid the "razzle
dazzle" that is generally associated with satellite channels.
The cable TV market in Nepal is still not as mature as its Indian
counterpart, though the Himalayan kingdom does receive 20-odd satellite
channels, including Zee TV, Star, CNN, HBO, BBC and private Nepalese
satellite channels, apart from the national broadcaster, Nepal TV.
Even as Nepal passes through economic difficulties, there has been
a spurt of investment in the newest fad in town, private television
channels. Pushed by tens of millions of rupees of investment, three
metro channels and three satellite channels, of which one is already
running, are preparing to beam their signals to households within
the next six months or so. Though the market is small, the half
a dozen new entrants and already established NTV will be vying to
lure the attention of couch potatoes. Nepalese viewers, particularly
the urban ones, whose current staple is the foreign channels, will
now have the option of trying homegrown channels. Whether the arrival
of domestic private TV channels would force them to stop surfing
foreign channels, remains to be seen, wrote a Nepalese magazine
TV Channels: Watching The Small Screen Grow Up).
Meanwhile, Singh is busy tying up the TV software and private producers
in India and Nepal have been sounded out on this. Though, one producer
that indiantelevision.com spoke to was a bit sceptical as Singh
is not regarded as a good paymaster in the industry and is very
tough to please where quality and content is concerned.
But advice and guidance is available within home only for Singh.
One of Singh's brothers, Deepak Shourie, has ample experience in
media companies having worked with the likes of Living Media, Outlook,
Hindustan Times and now as the managing director for Discovery
India. Her other brother is Arun Shourie, a powerful minister in
the Indian government and, at present, has under his charge the
telecom and IT ministry, apart from the disinvestment ministry,
and broadcasting infrastructure does fall under the telecom sector.
"I am taking it bite by bite," a cautiously optimistic Singh observes.
But there is no denying the fact that India will soon witness another
TV production house turn into a broadcaster, a la NDTV.