Kolkata: Is Bengali infotainment channel ETV Bangla ready to shed its current avatar and spawn a 24 hour Bengali news channel? The buzz in Kolkata is that indeed it is. And this change will reportedly happen in the next two months, if sources are to be believed. More than 100 professionals - including journalists and techies - are expected to be recruited for the news foray. Apparently, the company has already got a news uplinking licence; and the new pay TV channel will be given a moniker which includes the words "ETV Bangla" in it.
An ETV Bangla executive explains that it already has the set up to run a 24 hours news channel, and the deadline that has been drawn up for its launch is 15 March 2014. Says he: "ETV Bangla currently employs 135 people. So for the news channel some employees would be common and the rest we will hire. We will also make further investments.”
He further adds that the news channel's reporting stance will be to give updates and analyse developments in an objective and unbiased manner. Uplinking will take place from either Hyderabad or Noida where Network18 has uplinking facilities.
He points out that it is quite likely that ETV Bangla will be converted into a complete GEC, and the three news bulletins under the brand Aamar Bangla running on it will be dropped, once the news service becomes operational. Currently, ETV Bangla airs Aamar Bangla from 7 am to 7:30 am, 7:30 am to 8 am and from 4 pm to 4.30 pm.
Viacom18 executive vice-president Ravish Kumar refused to confirm or deny that any such moves were underway at ETV Bangla.
It should be noted that ETV Bangla, part of the ETV Network, was launched in Kolkata in 1999 and it currently takes a rice plate approach for airing a variety of programs - including cultural events, family dramas, movies, debates, children's programs, tourism, and the occasional news bulletins.
Some of the original programmes telecast on the channel include: Prathamar Rannaghar, Jhalak Dikhlaja Bangla, Ranga Mathaye Chiruni, Bigg Boss Bangla and Sadhok Bamakhyapa among others.
Only time will tell if ETV Bangla will be reincarnated once again. We will be watching the channel closely for further developments.