The broadcasting space down South is increasingly getting hot. An indicator of this is the attention that mainline broadcasters are giving to the region. ZEE, for one, has plans to launch a bouquet of regional channels under the Alpha umbrella in South India.
Its Alpha Telugu channel, incidentally, was soft-launched a few months ago, but plans are on to reposition and relaunch the channel.
Leading the effort in this direction is ex-ETV hand Ajay Kumar. He joined ZEE Telefilms as senior vice-president and business head of ZEE Alpha South on February 1.
Based in Hyderabad, Kumar says that the Alpha Telugu channel will comprise news and entertainment. "However, the channel will have a different kind of an orientation, which I cannot spell out at the moment," he says.
Andhra Pradesh will be one of the key markets for ZEE. But this market is also one of the most saturated with the presence of Sun Group's Gemini TV and Teja TV, ETV and MAA TV. Public broadcaster Doordarshan also has its regular terrestrial channel operating there.
What's more? Sun is looking to launch its second GEC in Andhra Pradesh called Aditya TV. If the grapevine is to be believed, the STAR group is eyeing this market as well.
It is in this cluttered environment that Alpha Telugu will be relaunched. Kumar does not seem to be too perturbed with the action around him. His focus, he says, is to build a "solid channel", and for that he is currently putting his team together.
What is unclear is the precise date of relaunch, which Kumar refuses to divulge at the moment. "It is too premature for me to indicate when we will relaunch. But it is definitely on the cards."
Once Alpha Telugu begins its run as a refurbished channel, Kumar's next job will be to put up Alpha Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam. Currently, there are four other channels in the Alpha bouquet besides Alpha Telugu. These include Alpha Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati and Punjabi.
Alpha's key rival in Maharashtra, Gujarat and West Bengal is the ETV Network, which has twelve channels including ETV Telugu, Urdu, Bangla, Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada, Oriya, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan, which are programmed in Hindi and ETV2 (the news and current affairs channel). General entertainment is the hallmark of both ETV and Alpha.
© 2005 agencyfaqs!