Television

ABP Group plans to launch 3-4 regional news channels in next 3 years

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KOLKATA: After building a strong presence in Bengal and Maharashtra, and all plans firmed up for the Punjabi news channel, Kolkata-based media company, ABP Group, plans to launch three to four regional news channels in the next two to three years, in the western region followed by northern India; said ABP Group MD and CEO Dipankar Das Purkayastha. To begin with, the group is looking to launch a Gujarati news channel.

It is learnt that recruitment for the Punjabi news channel has been completed in the Chandigarh office and the company is only waiting for the up-linking license from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

“We want to become national media with multiple regional news channels. We have evaluated different regional markets and soon after the Punjabi channel launch, we would look at other regions,” Purkayastha told indiantelevision.com. He further said that the Punjabi news channel could be launched anytime and ABP was only waiting for a green signal from the authorities.

Asked about the business model for the Punjabi and regional news channels, Purkayastha said it would remain the same. “The model would be the same just like the one in Bengal and Maharashta,” he said.

Indiantelevision.com had earlier reported that the news network had plans to expand into regional languages or tier II cities as it had saturated its potential in the metros. At the time, it had identified Punjabi as the first regional language it would foray into.

Besides, part of ABP Group’s Media Content and Communication Services, ABP Anando, which had announced an 8-15 per cent hike for employees nearly nine months ago, has actually paid the hike arrears to all the personnel. “ABP announced around nine months ago and has paid all the employees the arrears. ABP Anando will play a big role during election time. Employees are happy to receive the amount, and all are willing to work hard going forward,” said an ABP insider.

About the payment of arrears, Mumbai-based KRIS Capital director Arun Kejriwal said, “Revenues are flowing and they want to retain talent. The experienced and talented are in short supply.”

ABP is the undisputed leader in eastern India with its English daily, The Telegraph, and highest-selling Bengali daily, Ananda Bazaar Patrika.

While Anandabazaar.com, the online version of Ananda Bazaar Patrika, which registers around 22 million page views per month, witnesses 30-35 per cent visitors from abroad; according to ABP vice president, Bengali Dailies Supriyo Sinha. While the ABP Group did not earlier believe in having a presence on social networking websites, it has seen around 2.83 lakh likes on its facebook page, which was created around 10 months ago.

“After studying, it was noticed that people spend around 9-10 minutes on our website. Whereas, the average time spent on other regional Bengali news portals is around 4-5 minutes. In order to retain No 1 position in Bengal, we have renewed our presentation. We have to diversify and customise the content for different target audiences,” said Sinha.

Less than two years ago, the group launched a Bengali tabloid ‘Ebela’ the circulation of which is around 4 lakh per day in West Bengal. “The circulation of Ananda Bazar Patrika is around 57 lakh in the state per day,” she added.

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