STAR Ananda, the Bengali news channel from the Ananda Bazar Patrika-STAR TV combine, may be finally launched by this month-end.
Although none of the STAR executives were ready to comment on this development, sources close to the the ABP Group have confirmed this development.
As per sources, the upcoming news channel has already got approvals from the I&B Ministry and Finance Ministry. It is now awaiting an approval from the IT Ministry. If there is a delay in the approval by a day or two, the launch date may be postponed to June 1.
Sources said that STAR Ananda will be drawing on the resources of the STAR News team for national coverage. This means that for national news coverage, STAR Ananda will be using the same footage dubbed in Bengali.
For local coverage, the channel will have a separate team. The content of the local news coverage, according to ABP sources, will be completely different from what the other television news services presently do in West Bengal. "STAR Ananda will not extensively report about incidents of petty crimes and accidents like some its peers. It will look at larger issues. The programming will also have many chat shows and discussion forums," sources said.
It was in November 2004, when STAR News and the ABP Group had announced the launch of a Bengali news channel. As per sources, one of the reasons for the delay in the launch was that both the ABP Group and STAR India couldn't come to an unanimous decision of using a name, which included both the brands.
While the STAR group favoured STAR Khabar, the ABP Group had insisted that since the ABP is a stronger brand in West Bengal, the name STAR Ananda was more appropriate.
The channel is also planning a strong nationwide distribution network as it plans to cater to the the huge Bengali population residing outside West Bengal. There are plans to telecast abroad too.
The new channel is headed by Suman Chattopadhyay, who until recently was the executive editor of the Bengali daily, Ananda Bazar Patrika.
Sources also said that the Bengali news channel will be followed by a couple of other launches in other regional languages. An ABP source said, "After the ABP-STAR combine launches one channel, it will be launching other regional channels. The cost for launching subsequent channels is much less. It opens up other revenue streams as well." © 2005 agencyfaqs!