The Asianet & #BANNER1 & # television network will launch a Telugu general entertainment channel (GEC) and a Kannada news channel in six months' time. The name of the Telugu GEC is still to be decided, but the Kannada news channel will be called Suvarna News.
It is estimated that Telugu channels enjoy higher popularity in Andhra Pradesh than national channels. Regional channels in the Hyderabad market especially account for close to 65 per cent viewership. Some of the prominent players in the Telugu GEC market are Raj TV, Doordarshan Telugu, Zee Telugu, ETV Telugu, Maa TV and Sun TV's Gemini and Teja. Lately, the STAR Group has also been focusing on regional channels in various parts of the country and is set to launch its Telugu channel in the next four months.
Suvarna News will be Asianet's second channel in the Kannada speaking market. In June 2007, it launched Suvarna, a Kannada GEC.
TV9, owned by the Hyderabad based Associated Broadcasting Company (ABCL), also launched a Kannada news channel in early 2007. This year, the company plans to launch a Kannada GEC and a Kannada religious channel. Kannada, however, is a smaller market than its Telugu counterpart and less cluttered. Keeping in mind the viewer habits of this market, Asianet might have to follow an altogether different approach from the one it is using for the Telugu market.
Asianet plans to launch a bouquet of channels in 2009 in markets including Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Apart from other regions, the network has three prominent channels in the Malayalam market, including Asianet (GEC), Asianet News and Asianet Plus (for the youth).