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Eastern Media rebrands Odia infotainment channel Kanak TV

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MUMBAI: In a bid to stay head to head with competition, Odisha based Eastern Media has revamped its Odia language infotainment channel Kanak TV as Kanak News. With the re-branding exercise, the channel is also eyeing a larger chunk of ratings.

The channel started operations in 2009 and airs 24/7 news, current affairs and entertainment content. Post the revamp, Kanak News will sport a new tagline of ‘Paribartanara Swara,’ and will aim at being the voice of change for the people of Odisha across the horizon.

Eastern Media executive director Tanaya Patnaik says, “A complete revamp had been on the cards for a long time now. With almost a dozen players in the market, it was important for us to change the way we look at news. We wanted to redefine the concept of prime time news. For us, every hour is prime time. We have been implementing these changes for the last couple of months and the response and ratings have been highly encouraging. Kanak News has a very young and energetic team and it has been working for us.”

Providing an insight into the rebranding, Patnaik tells Indiantelevision.com, “It has been six years since we started operations and seeing other players, we thought it was time for us to undergo a revamp. As a part of the revamp, we will change our editorial strategies also. We will shift away from the bulletin formula to a more breaking news and debates situation. Previously, we had 60 – 65 per cent of news with the rest as current affairs. Now it will be a 80 - 20 proposition.”

The channel will continue to be a free to air and hence relying on advertising revenue. “It will take time for pay channel phenomenon to work in Odisha. There are only two local pay channels in the state now. There are huge number of viewers in the state but 10 channels are a little too much at times,” she adds.

Elections are the biggest source of revenue for both national and regional news channels. The national election and the state elections are held at the same time in Odisha, which impacts the business of news channels hugely. The ad rates normally fluctuates between Rs 500 - 600 but during elections it goes up to almost Rs 1500.

Eastern Media also owns the largest circulated Odia daily broadsheet, 'Sambad' and radio channel Choklate 104 FM. Kanak News will use the resources of its sister companies.

Speaking about how TAM ratings still decide the ad rates in the region, Patnaik says, “BARC is yet to give us data so clients are referring to TAM analysis. All the news channels are bragging about the ratings on air and promoting it aggressively and clients are going by that. Generating higher ratings is the other important reason behind us going through a revamp.”

There are 140 to 200 TAM peoplemeters in Odisha and the number is innocuous when compared to the television households in the state. Nowadays, it is claimed that news is consumed most through internet, while television and newspapers are no longer the primary sources of information. However Patnaik begs to differ. “Unlike other states, newspaper circulations is still going up in Odisha. Additionally, there are many first time television buyers, so the primary sources of audio visual content consumption or news consumption are the traditional print and broadcast media and it will continue to be the same for the next six years at least. Internet is growing but at snail’s speed.”

When it comes to penetration, cable remains the clear dominator in Odisha as 70 - 80 per cent of the population are cable TV subscribers, whereas areas uncovered by cable have DTH penetrations.

Kanak News is available on Ortel Communication, Variety, Hathw@y and D2H platforms -- Tata Sky, Dish TV and Jain Hits.

Eastern Media chairman Soumya Ranjan Patnaik will continue to be the editor-in-chief and senior journalist Manoranjan Mishra will also be a part of the channel.

Talking about the philosophy of the channel, chairman Soumya Ranjan Patnaik says, “Our stand is clear. We are not a neutral news channel. We have taken sides. We have taken sides for Odisha and every Odia and will be uncompromising while pursuing the State’s interest.”

With its rebranding, the channel has also incorporated a few new programmes to its bouquet like Jatra Chalichi, Jeebana Ra Canvas, Business Leaders, Crime Reporter and Page 3 amongst others.

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