Inching ahead in its plans to have an all-round presence in Mumbai, Mid Day Multimedia Ltd, which publishes the tabloid Mid Day, is set to launch a Mumbai-based news channel next year. The decision to turn broadcaster comes in the wake of the group's foray into the television content business with its recent alliance with ZEE News to provide a daily news capsule titled Mumbai Fast. Prior to this, Mid Day provided news content to DD's Sahyadri channel in Marathi. "Plans are in place to launch a city-based news channel next year," says Manajit Ghoshal, CFO, Mid Day Multimedia. "However, we are keen to ramp up our expertise before we venture as broadcaster."
The initial investment required to turn broadcaster is Rs 50 crore and Ghoshal claims that the company is on the lookout for a suitable partner for the same. "Talks are going on," he says. "Initially, though, we are looking at non-media players."
Arindam Mitra, who was earlier director, operations at Mid Day Multimedia, is now in charge of the television wing, designated as COO, broadcasting division. Operations within the group have been streamlined into broad areas comprising newsmedia, that is, print and outdoor, radio and television. Additionally, Mid Day has a presence in the BTL (below-the-line) space, information services (Hello Mid Day) and the net.
According to Ghoshal, the news channel will target the city's Rs 300-crore retail advertising market disbursed between cable television, pamphlets, glow signs and outdoor. "The idea is to take away from these and provide a platform by which advertisers can leverage our multi-media presence. Over the last two years, Mid Day has been moving into the multi media arena and television was a natural extension," he says.
Though envisioned as a city-based news channel, entertainment will also be thrown in for good measure with the idea of providing a channel of "satellite quality". "The difference between our channel and the myriad other cable news channels is in quality," he adds.
Meanwhile, shooting for Mid Day's film and TV project, Black Friday, which deals with the serial blasts in Mumbai a decade ago, will start in the month of October. Based on a book of the same name authored by S Hussain Zaidi, the film, compatible on both celluloid and small screen, will be directed by noted writer-director Anurag Kashyap.
According to Ghoshal, Black Friday is slated for release in March 2004 while the city-based news channel should see the light of day by the second quarter of next year. © 2003 agencyfaqs!