ABP's Bengali GEC Sananda TV to shut shop on 7 November

ABP's Bengali GEC Sananda TV to shut shop on 7 November


MUMBAI: Ananda Bazar Patrika‘s presence in the television entertainment space will end on 7 November as Sananda TV shuts down 15 months after launch.

The Kolkata-based media group, which had launched the Bengali general entertainment channel on 25 July last year, could not make an impact in a market dominated by Star Jalsha, Zee Bangla and ETV Bangla.

"Bengal is a tough market to operate in. Even though a lot of channels have launched, the market continues to be dominated by these three players. It‘s a unique market as it is only the city of Kolkata which contributes bulk of the viewers and ad revenue. The creative talent in Kolkata unlike a city like Mumbai is also limited," said the business head of a rival network on condition of anonymity.

"This is to inform all the MSOs, Distributors, and the General public at large that the ‘Sananda TV‘ channel shall no longer be available through any medium whatsoever with effect from 07/11/2012. We state with deep regrets that we are being constrained to terminate the broadcasting of the channel due to various business exigencies," a notice from Goldvision Entertainment read.

Leading direct-to-home operator Tata Sky also issued a notice saying the same. "Please note ‘Sananda TV‘ will cease to be on our DTH platform from 7 November 2012 as the channel is being shut down by its broadcaster. Please note that the intimation has only been provided by the channel provider to Tata Sky on 18 October 2012."

When contacted, Sananda TV CEO Madhumita Chattopadhyay refused to talk about the development, "At this point, we would not like to make any comment," Chattopadhyay said.

Sananda TV drew its name from ABP‘s women magazine Sananda and was targeted towards modern-day women. ABP had hoped to draw synergy from its women magazine for the GEC channel.

On 19 September, a Kolkata-based company NVD Solar had announced in its website that it was acquiring the channel from ABP Group. However what happened post the announcement is still a mystery. The company, which is engaged in the manufacture of renewable energy products, had even announced that the channel would be renamed NVD Sananda TV.

Queried about the NVD Solar deal, Chattopadhyay clarified that no sale took place and the channel is still with ABP.

Sananda TV had launched several fiction shows including big ticket ones like Naayika produced by Raj Chakraborty and Jabab Kinte Chai, the quiz show produced by Big Synergy. The quiz show was inspired by the British game show Sell Me the Answer.

However, it failed to get ratings and ABP decided it couldn‘t provide long-term financial support. The decision also comes at a time when ABP has to pay for buying out Star India‘s 26 per cent stake in Media Content and Communications Services (MCCS) that runs a slew of regional-language news channels.

ABP also has to protect its turf in the flagship print business. The Times of India Group has launched a Bengali newspaper, forcing ABP to come out with a tabloid named Ebela. The tabloid is priced at Rs 2.

Sananda TV is the second high-profile Bengali GEC to shut down after Mahuaa Bangla.

According to Deloitte, GECs dominate the West Bengal TV market with Bengali and Hindi GECs commanding a viewership share of almost 50 per cent. A typical GEC requires as much as six hours of fresh software every day with films being one of the key content sources that fill this need.

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