Sahara Samay, a part
of Sahara India Mass Communications, is all set to launch an Urdu news channel by May 2006.
Prabhat Dabral, head, Sahara Samay Rashtriya, says, "We plan to launch an Urdu news channel within the next three months."
Dabral explains the need for the channel: "We have about 50 live bureaus, which no other channel can claim to have. With this kind of infrastructure, we thought why leave the huge Urdu market untapped. Moreover, we have a huge market share when it comes to the Urdu print editions in India and abroad."
When asked about the cost of launching another news channel, Dabral says, "The necessary infrastructure is already there when one is part of a large bouquet. It's only the operational costs that one needs."
Meanwhile, 'Roznama Rashtriya Sahara', the Urdu daily from the Sahara Group, is also planning to launch 10 new editions within the next three months.
At present, the daily has three editions from Delhi, Lucknow and Gorakhpur. The next destinations are likely to be Mumbai, Patna and Kolkata, followed by Hyderabad.
Dabral says, "India is still a big market for the Urdu language. Our daily edition and the weekly international edition, 'Aalmi Sahara', are performing well in terms of readership and circulation figures."
The Urdu daily currently boasts of columnists such as IK Gujral, Kuldip Nayar, Syed Shahabuddin and Syed Soharwardi. Dabral says, "These columns will be continued with a few additions in terms of features and columns."
Dabral says that the local editions will have about two pages of local content. The cover price will be different for each edition, depending on the city and production costs. The Delhi edition is currently priced at Rs 2. Dabral adds, "We have our own printing presses in cities such as Lucknow and Patna and we have already rented a few more printing centres. So, production will not be a problem."
According to Dabral, the editorial and marketing teams are already in place. The promotion campaign has already begun through in-house print mediums and TV channels, but the marketing strategy is still to be finalised.
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