Cable channel Bangla Akhon woos viewers with news and entertainment

By , agencyfaqs!, na | In Advertising | September 18, 2002
With an interesting mix of news, features and social issues-based programming Bangla Akhon aims to become 'voice of the people' in Kolkata

agencyfaqs! News Bureau

Three months old and it is already giving the biggies a run for their money.

New kid on the block Bangla Akhon, launched by Sukriti Production of Khas Khabor (the first privately produced TV news in Bangla for telecast on Doordarshan) fame, is already the third highest viewed channel among all cable and satellite homes of Kolkata. According to Abhijit Dasgupta, promoter of Banga Akhon, "At the moment, among the C&S homes of Kolkata, we hold the third position after ETV and Alpha. Our aim is to become the most viewer friendly channel within one year. We do not claim to be the best, but we definitely deal with more social issues than most. We therefore, wish to become the 'voice of the people'."

Bangla Akhon, however, has a small disadvantage to reckon with. It is not a 24 hour channel. Its programmes are telecast on the prime time - 4.00 pm to 11.00 pm daily. But the good thing is that it is aired on the prime band dial position (thus reaching 50 per cent of the old black and white TV sets of Kolkata as well) and has an interesting mix of programming.

To woo the news hungry Kolkata population, it has three half hour news bulletins, Khabor Akhon, which is extremely popular. Besides, it shows a Bangla feature film everyday. These are specially selected and scheduled in a way that they form a theme. For instance, it recently had a Uttam Kumar week where the channel aired his feature films under the theme Uttam Kumar - 7 days with 8 heroines. Each feature film was preceded by a researched discussion where unknown nuggets of information about the feature film and other interesting anecdotes are presented to the audience.

To increase viewer participation, the channel packages each feature film as a contest. Viewers are asked 10 questions, and on answering them correctly they get a prize. The best part is that the winner is not decided by a lottery. All the viewers who sent in correct answers walk away with a prize. "This interactivity has become a great draw," observes Dasgupta.

Most of the other programmes on Bangla Akhon are also aimed at encouraging audience participation. "We are the first ones to introduce a Top Ten Music Video programme in Bangla (Gaaney Bazimat). The other notable programmes are Mushkil Aashan, a daily interactive health show where only specialist doctors participate. Viewers can phone in for consultations with these specialists, who otherwise will give appointments after about 10-15 days. Rangila is a programme which presents the unadulterated folk songs and place them against the glamourised Hindi film versions with the same tune," elaborates Dasgupta.

Dasgupta says sleek content, packaged and marketed judiciously, will continue to swing the TVRs in Bangla Akhon's favour. "Our immediate plan is to offer unique packages to our clients. We do not want to sell mere spots and get our programmes sponsored the normal way. We will offer our clients intensive and extensive visual exposure and will treat them as channel partners. We are also thinking of special projects by which some programmes will be created to cater to our clients most effectively." © 2002 agencyfaqs!

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