Sahara Samay is looking at launching a Bengali news channel by early 2005,
a development that has been confirmed by Prabhat Dabral, head of Sahara Samay's regional news channels. "The skeletal team is already in place, and hopefully, the channel would be launched by February 2005," he says. Meanwhile, the immediate destinations for Sahara Samay's Hindi regional news channels would be Bihar and Rajasthan, which are likely to see launches by November this year.
Senior executives at Sahara Samay are excited about the regional channels' recent successes in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Sahara Samay's regional news channels have garnered high viewership in their respective regions, giving tough competition to national channels.
As per TAM Media Research (C&S homes, male, 15+, UP market), Sahara Samay's regional news channel in Uttar Pradesh achieved a GRP of 42 in week 26 - fairly close to Aaj Tak, which got a GRP of 43 in the same week, in the same region. In week 27, Sahara Samay UP emerged as the number one news channel in the state with a GRP of 45, beating Aaj Tak and NDTV India, who managed GRPs of 32 and 30, respectively. In weeks 28 and 29, the viewership of Sahara Samay UP increased further, achieving GRPs of 55 and 54, respectively.
Likewise the regional news channel for Madhya Pradesh has also grown in terms of viewership in the last couple of weeks. As per TAM Media Research, Sahara Samay MP fetched a GRP of only 32 in week 26, which grew to 61 in week 29, only behind the lead news channel in the region - Aaj Tak - that got a GRP of 89. In week 29, NDTV India got a GRP of 56 in Madhya Pradesh.
Says an enthused Dabral, "We launched just eight months back in Madhya Pradesh, and the response we have been getting is overwhelming. We hope to grow in terms of viewership, and the day is not very far when we could also be the number one news channel in MP."
Explaining the reasons behind this growth in viewership, Dabral continues, "As a regional channel, we have a reporter at every district of the state, which is unlike a national news channel. This gives us an ability to cover a local event in a far more analytical way than a national channel could. For instance, a national news channel broke a piece of news from Agra, but we could do a better coverage as we could dig out different aspects of the story from other towns of the state. Secondly, as a regional channel, we have 80 per cent of local news, and viewers have an affinity towards localized content or news, thus providing an edge over the national news channels."
"It would be difficult for any national news channel to beat a regional channel in its respective state, and it has already been proved," Dabral adds, citing examples of channels such as Sun News and Asianet News, which are the lead channels in their respective regions.
Going by the current success, Sahara Samay UP is also planning to introduce some new shows. "We have been successful in getting eyeballs and now we want to earn revenues," Dabral says.
The channel has launched a couple of lifestyle shows in the hope of attracting advertisers. The shows include one on automobiles called Mile Edge. "These kind of shows are of advertisers' interests as it caters mainly to the SEC A or B viewers who have the purchasing power," Dabral points out.
The other shows that the channel would be launching shortly are Campus Funda, based on careers, and Rang Barse, which talks about different cultures, both national and international. Apart of these, the news channel would be relaunching the show on crime called Tafteesh.
In an effort to increase the local touch to its programming, Sahara Samay is also planning to launch a show called Vote No.1. The show would dwell on the bests of each city, such as the best eating joints or the best schools. The channel has hired an external agency for the research work.
When asked whether Sahara Samay's regional channels cannibalize its national channel, Dabral said they don't. "Instead, they help the national channel get more viewership, and create a brand of the entire Sahara Entertainment bouquet." © 2004 agencyfaqs!