Eight, a Kolkata based production house, plans to launch a general entertainment channel for the Bengali market under the banner of Bangla Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. The launch of the general entertainment channel (GEC) is likely to take place in six months' time. Shubhojit Kumar Ganguly, business head, Bangla Entertainment, was unavailable for comment.
Currently, there are a number of media houses that are planning to enter the Bengali television market. Triveni Media, part of the Delhi based Triveni Group, with interests in automobiles, finance and real estate development, recently announced its plans to launch a Bengali news channel that will offer regional news on demand. STAR India already has a Bengali news channel called STAR Ananda and is working on plans to launch a regional GEC within a year's time. Other existing players in the Bangla entertainment segment include Eenadu, Zee Bangla, Aakash Bangla and Doordarshan 7.
Demand for local entertainment in Bengal has mostly stayed ahead of demand for Hindi GECs. It is estimated that in 2003, the Bangla market occupied a share of 28 per cent against 23 per cent for Hindi GECs. The gap with respect to market share has widened this year with the Bangla entertainment market occupying 33.6 per cent space and Hindi GECs, only 20 per cent.
Recently, Channel Eight also announced plans to start a special channel called Channel Eight Talkies dedicated to Bengali cinema. The launch of the channel, scheduled for December 2007, has been delayed by a month.