MUMBAI: With digitization setting in and general elections just round the corner, television networks are increasingly looking to tap regional markets. Not so long ago, Network18 acquired a posse of channels from the Ramoji Rao-founded ETV Group.
And now, its news broadcasting arm – TV18 – has gone ahead with the launch of ETV News Kannada that went live yesterday at 5:00 pm. G N Mohan has been roped in as editor, S Divaakar as business head and Subba Naidu as general manager, with Rajesh Raina as ETV group editor. The channel has 150 full-time employees and nearly 150 stringers on board with the latter to keep a close eye on political developments in each district of Karnataka.
While ETV News Kannada is currently operating out of its Hyderabad studio, the channel will shift base to Bengaluru post-elections and set up five to six bureaus in the state.
Raina sounds confident about the venture. Speaking to indiantelevision.com, he says,“Ultimately, it is the survival of the fittest. ETV group has always stood for credibility and we are sure we will do well in the market.". The pay TV channel has already invested Rs 5 crore and will be pumping in another Rs 10 crore in the coming months. “The Karnataka market is very fertile. A 10-second slot in the Hindi market is priced at Rs 500 whereas there, it is nearly Rs 1,500," says Raina. He added that business worth Rs 50 lakh has already been booked by advertisers.
Official sources say the channel is targetting an ad revenue of Rs 20 crore.
Promotional campaigns have already begun across Karnataka through radio, transit advertising and digital with print to follow soon. The channel has decided to stay out of outdoor due to the high cost of hoardings in Bengaluru.
Election Express and an election satire are among the shows to be broadcast on the new channel. Initially, the channel will be available on cable TV with DTH platforms yet to be signed on. Karnataka chief minister K Siddaramaiah and Union petroleum and natural gas minister M Veerappa Moily are expected to grace the launch event.
More ETV news channels are expected to follow suit like ETV Himachal/Haryana in March, ETV News Gujarati in April, and ETV News Odia in July.