The Sadhna Group, which owns the spiritual channel Sadhna TV, has launched its third region specific 24 hour news channel, Sadhna News Himachal and Uttarakhand. The channel started the test signals last week and will formally be on air from April 6.
The group's first regional news channel, Sadhna News Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, began broadcasting in June 2008, while the second offering, Sadhna News Bihar and Jharkhand, was launched in December 2008.
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Talking about the new venture, Prabhat Dabral, executive director, Sadhna News, says, "We decided to launch a Himachal and Uttarakhand specific channel as it is a virgin market. Though there are channels that have one or two hours of programming for these two regions, ours will be the first 24 hour satellite news channel dedicated only to these two markets."
He adds, "Uttarakhand is newly formed state and is a budding market. We see a lot of potential in the market as the aspiration level of the audience is very high here. Also, in Himachal and Uttarakhand, the distribution is less expensive when compared to the NCR or Uttar Pradesh based news channels. The distribution cost of a channel in Himachal and Uttarakhand is about 10 per cent of the amount that is needed for setting up a news channel in NCR or Uttar Pradesh."
The new channel will extensively cover the political, social and economic happenings of the two states, along with entertainment and sports coverage of the region. It will provide a platform for the local people of the two states to know what is happening in their vicinity.
The channel is being started with an initial investment of about Rs 4 crore on the hardware required to make the channel functional.
Since the gestation period for the region is low, the company expects to break even in five-six months. In other states, it took the group about a year to break even.
Dabral says, "Our channel will provide a vehicle for the local advertisers. We hope to generate 60 per cent of the revenue from the local advertisers, whereas the remaining 40 per cent will come from national advertising." The group also plans to enter Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab.