MUMBAI: With completion of phase one of two news channels in the states of Uttar Pradesh/Uttarakhand and Rajasthan, the Best News Company plans to enter phase two by launching two more news channels this year.
The channels in question being Samachar Plus Haryana and Samachar Plus Madhya Pradesh/Chattisgarh - both under the Samachar Plus umbrella – scheduled for a September-October 2014 launch.
The current duo has a 600-strong staff with broadcasting happening from Noida and news gathering from bureaus in Lucknow and Jaipur. Incidentally, the Noida office has 30,000 sq ft demarcated for the upcoming channels where the setup is in progress. Plans are afoot to recruit another 500 people for the upcoming channels.
Recently, Aidem Ventures was entrusted the job of handling the ad sales for the existing two channels with corporate companies while local channels would be handled by the channel itself. Brands such as Rajnigandha and Jhandu are already with the channel while others such as Bajaj and Reliance are to be handled by Aidem going further. Currently, ad slots are in the range of around Rs 500 for a 10 second slot.
“The vision of the company is to provide unbiased news, programs based on development of the state and to promote art and culture of the respective regions as well as to bring up social issues that are relevant to the common man,” says Best News Company MD Shashank Bansal.
Investment to the tune of Rs 15-20 crore is being pumped into the up and coming channels while the existing ones are expected to break even in 2015. The third phase will see another channel for Bihar/Jharkhand.
On the distribution end, being handled by a 22 member-strong internal team, the channels have managed to be present 100 per cent in cable while DTH is yet to happen. The two free to air (FTA) channels beaming off Insat 4 are being shot in standard definition (SD) with no plans to go high definition (HD) anytime soon. “Our SD shooting is as good as HD due to our high quality equipments,” says Best News Company CEO Umesh Kumar.
Other contenders in the UP/Uttarakhand market are ETV UP, Zee Purvaiya and Zee Sangam while in Rajasthan, ETV Rajasthan, Zee Marudhara and Samay Rajasthan are in the fray. As to how the company will take on the challenge presented by biggies like Zee and TV 18, Bansal says, “We will provide our audiences with better content as compared to other channels.”