The Rs 3,000-crore diversified Sanghi Group, who are promoters of Vaarttha, the no.2 daily in Andhra Pradesh, is keen on investing in more segments of media apart from print, and a potential area of interest is broadcasting.
The group is set to launch a 24-hour, free-to-air, Telugu news channel before the current year draws to a close, and the objective, says Girish Sanghi, CMD, Vaarttha, is to increase its presence among the Telugu-speaking population.
"Our core competence lies in print, and we would like to extend that to the broadcasting segment. Apart from news, we are also toying with the idea of launching an entertainment channel at a later date."
Currently, the group is recruiting people for editorial and marketing positions at the yet-to-be-launched news channel, and the technology, which Sanghi maintains, will be the best in the country, will be in place in a month or two.
"Most of the infrastructure for the news channel is already available, while news gathering and datalines will be common to both print and television."
Alongside, the group is also looking at beefing up the presence of its flagship media brand Vaarttha in the metros with four separate editions in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore.
These will be in addition to the 19 editions already circulating in Andhra Pradesh, and according to Sanghi, the total investment in both the news channel and the four metros editions is in the region of Rs 50 crore.
The four metro-editions will be launched in the next few months, says Sanghi, and apart from the Telugu paper, the group is also looking at ramping up operations of its Hindi daily Swatantra Vaarttha, which has three editions in circulation -- at Hyderabad, Vizag and Nizamabad.
Plans are to go beyond the state of Andhra Pradesh and target Hindi-speaking pockets in allied regions of the south and the east. "The market for a Hindi paper in the southern states is limited. And we are looking at states such as Orissa, West Bengal and Assam," he says.
Only when the southern and eastern parts of the country are covered, says Sanghi, will the group venture into the northern belt with the paper. "There are a number of Hindi dailies in the north, and competition is intense. We endeavour to cover the south and east first, before we move to north." © 2004 agencyfaqs!