MUMBAI: The last few months saw several regional news channels sprout from the Network18 group. The channels from the bouquet charged into the states of Karnataka, West Bengal and Haryana/Himachal Pradesh and soon another channel is set to make headway into the land known for its lions.
In the presence of the new Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel, ETV News Gujarati is set to launch in 21 June. The current news bulletins on its sister general entertainment channel ETV Gujarati will cease to exist with the arrival of the news channel. “For the last so many years our Gujarati viewers have been demanding a 24 hours news channel for the region. Since, ETV news is known for its credibility, viewers were not satisfied with only a few news bulletins which ETV was running on the existing Gujarati channel,” says ETV news group editor Rajesh Raina.
The existing team that was creating the bulletins has now been enhanced with additions in the constituency level. Currently, being broadcast out of the network’s previous owner Ramoji Rao’s massive studios in Hyderabad, it will later shift to its headquarters in Ahmedabad and a sub-office in Gandhinagar. Naresh Dave is the editor while Neeraj Attri will be looking after the marketing and sales head of the channel.
“Hindi channels are strong in Gujarati because of lack of quality content on regional channels. There is still a potential here and also a vacuum. FMCG, pharmaceuticals and agricultural companies are potential target advertisers,” says Attri.
The competitors to ETV News Gujarati are TV9 Gujarati and Sandesh News. The size of the entire state’s market including the national Hindi channels is about Rs 500 crore to Rs 550 crore out of which regional channels command close to Rs 100 crore to Rs 110 crore.
Sources in the channel say that that ad rates is quoted at Rs 4000 for a ten second slot. While the channel is looking at a break even in about two years, the aim for the first year is to reach revenues close to Rs 40 crore.
Hoardings have already been placed across Ahmedabad, Surat, Baroda and Rajkot as well as promotions on other ETV channels. Media planners and buyers are being reached out through e-mailers. Print and radio advertisements are not yet in the pipeline.
Distrubtion across cable networks in the state including the leading GTPL as well as Den and InCable have been secured. It is also looking at covering the border areas of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. In Mumbai it is available on all national connections. DTH platforms are yet to be added.
“ETV is known as the voice of people in the entire country as we operate channels in different regional languages. Expansion will definitely help to reach out to a sizeable population of Gujarati speaking people in the state and outside,” says Raina.
Bulletins will cover both national and regional news. This apart, film based news, sports based news, business news and city bulletins will form a part of the FCP. Live bulletins will air from 6 am to midnight. Devotional and astrology shows in the morning and cookery and women’s magazine shows in the afternoon will be aired as well.
A popular ETV Hindi programme Central Hall will also be telecast.