CNBC TV18's Hindi channel Awaaz was launched in the capital on Thursday in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other political and business heavyweights such as former Union minister Jaswant Singh, ICICI chief executive K V Kamath, ZEE chairman Subhash Chandra and LG India managing director K R Kim.
Awaaz has been positioned as a consumer voice channel and hopes to reach to a wider section of audience. B Saikumar, vice-president, sales & marketing, CNBC TV18 says, "Our English channel was restricted to only the SEC A. But the Hindi channel Awaaz will help to broaden our viewership base as it will even cater to the SEC B."
Haresh Chawla, chief executive, CNBC TV18 told agencyfaqs! that the Hindi channel Awaaz will hopefully surpass CNBC TV 18 in 18-24 months time, both in terms of viewership and revenues.
Chawla claims that with a distribution tie-up with ZEE-Turner, the channel would reach out to 30 million homes in the next three months. In the first phase, it will be installing around 1,300 set-top boxes around the country.
When quizzed about ZEE-Turner having another business channel ZEE Business in its bouquet, Chawla reasoned out there are other competitive channels which are part of the same bouquet - be it Pogo and Cartoon Network, or HBO and ZMZ. So, it would not really make any difference for Awaaz, he added.
With an advertising budget of Rs 7 crore, the new channel will be promoted aggressively through cross-channel promotions, regional and national print, and below-the line activities. Chawla says, "We are also focusing heavily on distribution to ensure that more and more homes can sample the channel."
Talking about the competition from ZEE business (which has a similar positioning), Chawla said, "The channel with better content will get the larger market pie. With CNBC TV 18's expertise in the Indian business, we are confident about our success."
He further said, "Till date, we were the only players in the genre of pure business TV. With more and more players jumping on to the bandwagon now, the entire market of business television will only expand, as it happened for Hindi general news channels." He said the total market of business television in India is around Rs 80-100 crore.
Chawla also said that the channel was looking forward to brands with strong regional presence in diverse categories as advertisers, which will account for a substantial portion of the channel's revenues.
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