afaqs!

NDTV MetroNation launches its second channel

By Sumantha Rathore , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | May 20, 2009
NDTV and The Hindu come together for the Chennai-centric English news channel, NDTV Hindu

Despite the decision to stop airing fresh content on NDTV MetroNation Delhi, the group has launched its second offering, NDTV Hindu on May 16. NDTV and The Hindu Group have formed a joint venture to launch the Chennai-centric English news channel.

The Prannoy Roy-promoted company, NDTV and The Hindu are hoping that this partnership will help the new channel capitalise on the brand strengths and journalistic values of both the media houses.

Talking to afaqs! about the JV, Rajiv N Lulla, managing director and chief executive officer, NDTV Hindu, says, "We firmly believe that the future of news is in going local. The Hindu Group, with its impeccable credentials, has been a household name for generations in Chennai, which is fast evolving as a cosmopolitan city. With NDTV's strong television broadcasting and editorial capabilities, NDTV Hindu will bring out the true flavour of the city through its high-end content. "

He adds that though there are a few regional language channels for local news, there is no English channel catering exclusively to the city of Chennai. With its programming across genres that will cater to young, urban India, NDTV Hindu aims to change the perspective of the residents of Chennai regarding their city.

& #BANNER1 & #"This channel is a combination of editorial excellence and superior programming, targeted at the young. We're sure we will be able to capture the pulse of the city and give the viewers what they have been missing so far," Lulla informs.

The channel had a soft launch on May 5 and has signed up with many multi-system operators, including SCV and Hathway Cable and Datacom.

As far as the content is concerned, the channel will focus on both news and features. It will have seven-and-a-half hours of hard news; the remaining time would be devoted to city-centric features, including shows based on audience interaction, fitness, food, shopping, movies, technology, citizen journalism and others. Some of the feature programmes on the channel are: I Spy With My Digital Eye, Worked Out Victim, Unclocking Life and Big Pic.

NDTV Hindu has roped in Jennifer Arul as managing editor of the channel.

According to Lulla, The Hindu's gain from the JV includes content, marketing and live events. Through the channel, the Hindu has access to an audio-visual means that is more interactive and real-time than newspapers; attracts a younger segment of viewers (18-32 years) than The Hindu's traditional following among older age groups and strengthens the relationship with clients in industries that are exploring TV more aggressively, especially automobile, FMCG, education, retail, hospitality and healthcare.

Both the partners, Hindu and NDTV MetroNation believe that city-centric television is the future and are in the relationship for a long term.

On why the group chose Chennai to launch its second offering, Lulla says, "It is one of the most politically charged cities in the country, with a sophisticated audience that understands the nuances of news and has a well developed taste for superior journalistic values, as well as wide acceptance of the English language."

The other reasons for NDTV's presence in the city are its long-standing relationship with the region, Hindu's physical presence, and the unique strengths of the combined teams of Hindu and NDTV. The JV will see content-sharing with the newspaper in the region.

Meanwhile, MetroNation Delhi has stopped live broadcasts and a revamped version of the channel is expected to be launched by the end of July. The Delhi-based channel is presently relying on old shows, along with news tickers.