Times Now launches in UK today; other European launches to follow

MUMBAI: The Indian and south Asian diaspora in the UK will get a dose of television news celebrity anchor Arnab Goswami from this week onwards. The reason: Times Now is slated to launch this week in the UK on channel 576 as a free to air channel on Sky on 15 November, after testing its signals for the past weeks or so.

It joins the ranks of NDTV 24×7, Aaj Tak, ABP News and News18 India which too are airing in the UK.

Times Now will be targeting the 1.4 million strong Indian diaspora in the UK, and the management says it is the first of its launches in Europe. It is slated to be rolled out in France and Germany, according to company sources quoted in the Financial Times.  The channel is already available in the US since 2011.

Times Television Network MD & CEO MK Anand told the British financial daily that  the UK “can be our biggest diaspora market and a bridge into Europe ... over the longer run there is no reason for us not to envisage Times Now as a global brand. Al Jazeera is an English-language channel which is talking about the world with an Arabic lens, and in time we can do the same for an Indian world view.”

Times Now President & Editor in chief Arnab Goswami - who has built up a cult status  for himself and India’s  most watched English news channel - told the paper that initially only India focused news would be covered on the UK service. But the intent is  to develop local and global programming to appeal to global audiences, he revealed, bringing it in competition with France24, CNN, RT, and Al-Jazeera.

The company is going all out to promote the channel in the UK with an outdoor, radio, online and press commercials and advertorials in the pipeline.

It has set up an office in the UK in a bid to grab a share of the Britain's estimated TV ad market of pounds sterling 4.04 billion.  The UK is one of the few countries where digital spending  is slated to account  for 50 per cent of the overall annual adex of 16.26  billion pounds by end this year, according to  research firm emarketer.  Ad spending on mobile and online devices is slated to attract more than twice the ad spending that goes to TV.

Around 30 Indian channels are competing for the estimated 20-25 million pounds in ad spend  by Indian-targeted brands in the UK.

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