ABP Group to launch Bengali GEC Sananda on July 25

By Anindita Sarkar , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | July 12, 2011
The channel will open to the Bengali audience, with five-six original fiction properties that will occupy the 7.30 pm-10.30 pm slot.

The Bengali television market is steadily growing into a rather lucrative space for new players to step in. Leading print player Anandabazaar Patrika is gearing up to launch a fresh GEC, in order to tap into the discerning Bengal audience.

Christened Sananda, the channel will foray into the Bengali GEC market on July 25. "The channel will open up to the Bengali audience, with five-six original fiction properties that will occupy the 7.30 pm-10.30 pm slot," says a top industry executive, on conditions of anonymity.

"Eventually, depending on the market response, the channel also intends to introduce reality content into its programming line-up, one month after its launch," the source adds.

It is pertinent to note here that the channel draws its name from the Bengali magazine Sananda, the only women's magazine in the ABP bouquet, which is also acclaimed as the highest-selling Bengali magazine in the market.

Sananda, the magazine, is an attempt to celebrate womanhood. It celebrates women empowerment, and represents the modern Indian woman who balances her work and home perfectly, guiding her to bring out the best in herself.

Therefore, quite evidently, the channel content too, will chiefly target the modern-day woman, along with an elaborate family audience through content that is primarily woman-centric.

For the record, it was only after a gap of nine years that the Bengali GEC market had witnessed the first ripples, with the launch of STAR Jalsha in 2008. In less than a year, the channel shook up the market, and gained leadership position, while expanding the genre by over 10 per cent.

Now, with the launch of Sananda, media pundits believe that the new player could partially expand the market, while it could also eat into the viewership shares of Jalsha to some extent. Says a top executive from a competitive channel, "The content of Sananda is similar to that of Jalsha. And, since ABP has huge brand equity in the market, it is possible for the channel to eat away some portion of STAR Jalsha."

According to market estimates, the Bengali television ad market is sized at around Rs 700 crore, of which, an approximate Rs 415 crore belongs to the GEC pie.

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