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Republic Bharat, Arnab Goswami’s Hindi offering, to debut on 26 January

Hersh Bhandari to join the new Hindi news channel as EVP - revenue

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MUMBAI: The Hindi offering of the Arnab Goswami-led network Republic is set to hit the airwaves on 26 January, a source close to the development informed Indiantelevision.com. Republic TV CEO Vikas Khanchandani, in a recent interaction with Indiantelevision.com, however, had side-stepped queries about Republic Bharat’s (in short format it would be known as R Bharat) launch, though he added it would materialise in the first quarter of 2019.

Hersh Bhandari, the former national revenue head for India Today Television, is all set to join the brand new Hindi news channel. With him onboard, R Bharat aims to start strong as far as revenue performance and grow exponentially from there. He spent six years at Times Network. Bhandari has also had effective stints at the Star Group, NDTV Media, Mastiii and TV Today Group, collectively translating in 20 years of experience in the media industry. He has played a key role in helping channels boost their presence and revenue over the years and aims to replicate the same with R Bharat.

"We are pleased to have Hersh Bhandari on board and he is now a part of the Republic Network. With a proven track record of being a powerhouse and implementing strong customer focused strategy, he will lead the team to scale up the Republic Bharat advertising business. We wish Hersh all the very best in his new role," Khanchandani added.

The Hindi sibling of Republic TV will have Shamsher Singh as its editor. Singh has over 20 years of experience and has worked with leading television news channels, including India News, Zee Hindustan and Aaj Tak.

According to media reports, earlier in June this year Republic TV had circulated a note through a financial consultancy firm based out of Gurugram stating that the company was planning to raise capital of around Rs 120 crore (Rs 1,200 million) to set up a Hindi news channel. The investor note also stated Republic TV had “overachieved” its projected revenue and profitability estimates to close FY18 with Rs 155 crore (Rs 1550 million) in revenue and planned to close FY19 with close to Rs 2 billion in revenues.

Pointing out that `India’ is equated with `Bharat’, Khanchandani previously said, “Republic Bharat or R Bharat resonated with all of us and we were instantly drawn to it. It has stood out as a differentiator and as a name that smashes the clutter. The name is powerful and will connect with the audiences across HSM markets. The audiences will embrace Bharat.”

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