Prabhatam Group (earlier called the Rashtriya Group), which beams the spiritual channel, Sadhna TV, will launch its second, 24-hour regional news channel on December 14. The channel will be called Sadhna News (Bihar and Jharkhand).
The group's first regional news channel, Sadhna News (Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh), started broadcasts in June 2008. The Prabhatam Group has a presence in media, aviation, mining, real estate and biodiesel.
Sadhna News will be the second 24-hour, state-centric news channel in Bihar, Sahara Samay Bihar being the first.
Talking to afaqs! about the new venture, Rakesh Gupta, managing director, Sadhna TV, says, "It was a commercially viable proposition for us because regional markets have good potential. The markets of Bihar and Jharkhand are not competitive yet. Though there are plenty of national news channels, this market is relatively unexplored. People want to know what is happening in their state."
Gupta adds that for local and smaller district level advertisers, regional channels offer good reach and they, in turn, are a huge source of revenue for the channels. "Local advertisements are a good source of revenue. For our new ventures, we are focusing more on big, local advertisers and small ones at the district level, rather than the state level," he says.
The launch date of the new Sadhna News channel has been set with an eye on the ongoing elections so that the channel can grab maximum viewership from day one. "I think it's the best time for us to launch a news channel because the elections are near and we have many shows planned for this period. We plan to air interactions with the ministers and government officials of Bihar," explains Gupta.
Sadhna News (Bihar and Jharkhand) will beam interactive programmes with government officials, helpline programmes, and a mix of hard news, business and feature reporting, agricultural news, and song and dance reality shows.
Prabhat Dabral, executive director, Sadhna News (MPCG), will be responsible for all the news channels of the group. Shashi Ranjan will be the channel head of Sadhna News (Bihar and Jharkhand).
Sadhna News will have nine news bureaus spread across Bihar and Jharkhand. Six bureaus will be located in Bihar and three in Jharkhand, and all of them will be connected live through V-Sat with the group's headquarters in Noida.
The group has set a target of Rs 20 crore of advertising revenue for the Bihar and Jharkhand channel. It also plans to launch a third regional news channel by April 2009, which will cater to Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.