After selling off its comedy channel SAB TV to Sony Entertainment Television, Shree Adhikari Brothers Television Network is now all set to launch two new channels, Janmat and Me Marathi. Both these channels will be launched by June end.
While Janmat will be a current affairs and news channel, Me Marathi is a regional Marathi channel.
Markand Adhikari, vice chairman and managing director, Shree Adhikari Brothers Television Network Ltd, asserts that Janmat is more of a current affairs channel and news will just be a part of it.
He says, "We have no intention of entering the pre-crowded genre of news. We want to create our own niche as we did with SAB TV."
Explaining the difference between Janmat and other news channels, Adhikari cites the example of a magazine and a newspaper. He says, "If news channels are electronic newspapers, Janmat will be an electronic magazine."
Although Adhikari declined to provide exact details on the programming line-up, he said that the Janmat will have lots of feature-based shows, investigative stories, interactive discussion forums and analytical news coverage. "For hardcore news, we will have short duration news bulletin at regular intervals."
"Essentially, the current affairs programmes, which used to be a forte of SAB TV, will now be relaunched on Janmat, but in a mega format. The shows will be more interactive and in the process, we have already set up a studio in Delhi."
Asserting on the brand positioning of the channel, Adhikari says, "We have named our channel Janmat, which means people's opinion. We have conceived our programming accordingly. We will have programmes where a viewer can come in and speak his/her mind - be it a housewife or a student."
He rebuffed the notion that Janmat, being a current affairs channel, will predominantly cater to the male audience. He clarifies, "We will have shows which are targeted at the youth and women as well."
When SAB TV was recently sold to Sony, the brand was valued at Rs 57 crore, while the software was sold for Rs 75 crore.
When quizzed on the reason behind selling off SAB TV, Adhikari says, "Our expertise has always been in content and now, as part of our broader strategy, we want to focus on content and move away from broadcasting as far as general entertainment is concerned." SAB will continue producing content for SAB TV, he disclosed.
In spite of burning fingers once, the company is not ready to shed its broadcaster tag. Adhikari explains. "Running a general entertainment channels incurs huge costs. For instance, costs add up every half-hour, as you need different software. The scenario is different for a current affairs channel, where there is only a one-time cost of setting up the infrastructure and buying equipment. The recurring cost for a current affairs channel is only on manpower."
Talking about Me Marathi, Adhikari says, "We have produced the most successful soaps for DD Marathi. In mid-80s, we started of with Bandini for Doordarshan and later, we produced Damini for DD Marathi, which is the longest running daily soap on Indian television." Damini was on air for seven years.
"In the last twenty years, Shree Adhikari Brothers has become a household name in Maharasthra," he added. Me Marathi will also have news bulletin apart from entertainment programmes, similar to ZEE Marathi and Alpha Marathi.
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