MUMBAI: As the country heads into general elections, there’s a regional Hindi news channel being added.
As it celebrates its first anniversary today, News Nation, a national Hindi news channel, has geared up to enter the regional news channel space with the launch of a channel for the states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
News Nation’s news channel for Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand is all set to be launched on 19 February. The new channel already has 200 employees on board. The dry runs of the news channel are on but the name of the channel has not yet been disclosed.
The Uttar Pradesh/Uttarakhand channel will operate from two main offices in Lucknow and Dehradun and have bureaus in 10 other cities, including in Varanasi, Jhansi, Meerut and Agra.
News Nation’s Senior Editor Ranjeet Kumar will be the editorial head of the Uttar Pradesh/Uttarakhand channel.
The channel on the launch day will be available to all cable TV viewers in the two states as well as to subscribers of DTH television service provider Freedish.
News Nation has invested almost Rs 50 crore in its second news channel. A marketing campaign for the new channel, like in the case of News Nation, will follow a month after the launch.
The new channel will initially be free of advertisements. “We have a rule that we let the people sample the content we have, get the ratings and then reach out to advertisers,” says News Nation CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Shailesh Kumar.
The programming of the channel will be youth focussed. The vibrant colours of the two states will reflect in the logo as compared to the neutral logo of the national channel.
The Uttar Pradesh/Uttarakhand news channel will not have the usual programming focussed on entertainment, crime and astrology. The channel will have hard news but minus any sensationalism. “You can compare News Nation to any international channel,” says Kumar buoyantly.
The network has ambitious plans to expand its presence in the country. “We are currently studying markets to identify areas that are lacking good quality news channels and after that we will choose our locations,” says Kumar. He also added that there is no restriction on staying just in the Hindi Speaking Market (HSM).
According to TAM data provided by the channel, News Nation has garnered an average of 68 TVTs between weeks 3 and 6 for CS 15+ age group in the HSM.
News Nation is looking at signing annual advertisement deals with various clients before the election season sets in. Currently, it only has four to five minutes of advertising per hour.
After having built a credible space for itself within a year, News Nation is optimistic that its first regional channel will also achieve similar success.
“The road for us was not easy as this is an extremely cluttered genre. We clearly understood that there was a need for a Hindi news channel which was aggressive yet relevant, a channel based on pure news content yet blooming with new ideas and therefore, we came up with News Nation and within months of its launch it crossed over its competitors in terms of ratings,” says Kumar.