Television

Gujarat Samachar to launch TV channel; Thakkar to head ad sales

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MUMBAI: Gujarat Samachar, the largest read Gujarati daily, is venturing into the television regional-language news business through one of its owners, ahead of the state assembly elections.

Shreyans Shah, co-owner of the daily newspaper, is floating a new company, Aas Pass TV, to house the television project. The Gujarati-language channel will have a prime focus in news while entertainment programming will also form a part of the mix.

Shah is planning to launch the channel in November. The name is yet to be decided.

Shah has tapped TV9 senior vice-president Nilesh Thakkar to head ad sales and marketing. Designated as director-sales and marketing, Thakkar will be reporting to Shah.

"We are aiming to launch the channel in the second week of November. The focus obviously will be on political news and our launch timing is favourable as Gujarat assembly elections are coming up," Thakkar tells Indiantelevision.com.

Thakkar comes in with over 19 years of experience in sales and marketing. Prior to joining TV9, he was with Mahua as senior VP. He had also worked with MCCS, which runs Star News, Star Majha and Star Anand, as regional manager from January 2005 till 2011. In 2007, he was promoted as all India sales head for Star Majha.

The channel will also be airing advertiser-funded programmes (AFPs).

In the Gujarati TV news space, TV9 Gujarati dominates the market.

"Gujarat is a tough market," admits Thakkar. "The viewership for Hindi general entertainment and news channels is very strong. But we have a business plan and Gujarat Samachar is a very well known newspaper."

Gujarat Samachar is the largest read Gujarati daily. It is published from seven cities in Gujarat and also from Mumbai, the US and the UK.

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