afaqs!

Sahara Samay Mumbai is now Samay Mumbai

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | March 02, 2010
The Mumbai-oriented news channel has revamped its programming and introduced an element of entertainment in its content

Sahara Samay Mumbai, the Mumbai city centric news channel, has undergone a makeover of sorts. For one, the channel has dropped the word 'Sahara' from its branding, and will be known as Samay Mumbai, henceforth. Second, the channel has unleashed 22 new shows hosted by celebrities from all walks of life, focusing on the daily lives of Mumbaikars.

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The channel's symbol, however (the quintessential circle), remains the same. The core management team will comprise Shyam Rajagopalan (who hails from Encompass), Ayush Raina and Ashwin Dhar. Their exact responsibilities are being worked out.

Rajagopalan explains to afaqs! the reasoning behind dropping the word 'Sahara' from the channel's name: "When the channel was launched, the name Sahara was necessary to give it a push. But we feel it has reached a stage, where we can have the channel survive on its own, without riding on the Sahara name."

In the past, the channel hasn't been aggressive in promoting its content. But come April, some marketing initiatives would be undertaken to push the new programming; though details of the marketing plan are still sketchy.

Among Samay Mumbai's 22 new shows to be hosted by celebrities are Speak Up Mumbai hosted by Farooque Shaikh, Roots by Jayant Kriplani and U Turn hosted by Vrajesh Hirjee, which will address city-centric issues and celebrate the spirit of Mumbai and its people. Steal hosted by Nauheed Cyrusi, Rags Riches hosted by Anurag Kashyap, Budget Guru hosted by Cyrus Sahukar, Art Beat presented by Sonali Kulkarni, The Golden Age hosted by Kitu Gidwani and Machinist hosted by Ashwin Mushran will provide an in-depth view of Mumbai's lifestyle, its culture and the stories of unlimited success in the city.

Shows like FYJC, Steal, Yes Vacancy and Machinist focus on the city's young generation and its needs. The channel hopes to appeal to college-goers, shoppers, gadget freaks and food lovers of Mumbai. The shows will be telecast apart from 24x7 Hindi and Marathi bulletins and updates.

The new shows will be short, of 12-15 minute each. The idea is to provide news and entertainment -- the latter, enhanced by the celebrity factor -- in a capsule, for its target audience, which has short attention spans and seeks rapid information. "This kind of 'short and sweet' shows will lend vibrancy and dynamism to the channel's programming mix," Rajagopalan explains.

The celebrities chosen for an association with the channel, too, have been selected with care, as they have all found success after much hard work, "much like Mumbaikars", as channel executives put it.

The idea is also to provide forums for discussions and empower viewers to solve city-specific issues and problems through information, analysis and talk-based shows. To enhance the city element, there will also be more traffic and weather bulletins on the channel.

The channel's revamp plans made an appearance on January 26, 2010, when the newsroom sets were changed completely and the look of the shows was somewhat revamped.

This new phase of programming marks the second, more comprehensive stage of its revamp.