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NDTV to launch Hindi and English news channels on March 31

By , agencyfaqs! | In | February 14, 2003
These two are slated for launch on March 31, a day before the termination of NDTV's contract with Rupert Murdoch's STAR

After joining the One Alliance (the joint venture between SET and Discovery Networks) NDTV is getting ready to launch its Hindi and English news channels. These two are slated for launch on March 31, a day before the termination of NDTV's contract with Rupert Murdoch's STAR.

NDTV honcho Prannoy Roy is not ready to disclose the brand names of these channels though. But he says besides NDTV's traditional brand of programming there will a be couple new ones as well. An interesting addition to its content would be the 'breakaway' programmes. Primarily, such breakaways will be predetermined slots on the Hindi and the English news channels, which will focus on local developments. "For example you are watching the national news on the English channel, but some significant development in your city has happened and you do not want to miss it. You can see that on the Hindi channel," explains Dr Roy. Since the breakaways will be local programmes, they will be telecast in various regional languages.

Talking about the technology that makes breakaways possible today, Dr Roy, says, "The new software (supplied by Irdeto) in the Integrated Receiver Devices/Decoders (IRDs) makes this possible," In fact, the IRDs are in the process of being dispatched to various cable operators.

Now that NDTV is part of the One Alliance bouquet, (the contract is valid for three years, on a renewable basis), NDVT hopes to reach 26 million (of the 40 million C&S homes in India), which is currently the reach of the alliance, by July 2003. For the record, One Alliance recently added the movie channel HBO to its bouquet. Thus One Alliance now has Sony, Max, AXN, NDTV, HBO, Discovery, Animal Planet and CNBC on its roster, though CNBC will move out of the alliance soon. Sources suggest the joint venture is also seriously looking a kids' and music channel.

Thus, with its distribution arrangement in place, the task uppermost on NDTV's agenda now seems to be to aim for an international product. "Right now globally, on the scale of 10, Indian news broadcasters rank sixth; so there is tremendous scope for improvement," points out Dr Roy. "What sets apart one news channel from another is credibility and trust among viewers," he adds. And it is this trust and credibility that will be the hallmark of NDTV news, proclaims Dr Roy. © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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