Asianet Communications, part of Star India Network, is launching a dedicated television channel for the Middle-East audience christened Asianet Middle East. The channel is going on air with a soft launch on March 25. Currently, viewers of Asianet in the Middle-East will be offered the same programming schedules as that of the flagship channel in Kerala, Asianet TV.
K Madhavan, Managing Director, Asianet Communications Ltd, explained, “There is a considerable difference in the lifestyle of Keralites in Kerala and the expatriate Keralite community living in the Middle East. As the leading and trusted television channel of thousands of Malayalis in the region, we believe that the difference in outlook and aspirations must reflect in our channel’s programming to fully connect with our loyal audience here.”
The new dedicated 24x7 channel will structure its mainline programming schedule to suit the prime time as per the Middle East time zone. Thus, viewers in the Middle East can watch new blockbuster movies and all the weekend shows on Fridays instead of having to miss them on Sundays. The timing of other popular programmes will also be newly structured to suit the Middle East residents.
“The new channel also enables us to create special programmes for the Keralites in the Middle East region and provide our advertisers with more convenient time-slots for taking their message to the desired audience,” Madhavan said, adding, “To complement the Asianet Middle East 24x7 channel, we are also planning to establish a dedicated studio to drive our Middle East programming further.”
Asianet, established in 1993 in Kerala, launched its Middle East operations in 2000. In addition to setting up a dedicated office in Dubai Media City, Asianet also made strong inroads into radio with the popular Asianet 657 AM, which has extensive listenership across the Gulf region.
Madhavan added, “Asianet already has a powerful programming mix focusing on life in the Gulf. Programmes such as ‘Gulf Round Up’ and ‘City Lights’ give an overview of life in the Gulf. We were also the first to commence dedicated programming for events such as Dubai Shopping Festival, thus serving as a cultural bridge.”
With a an estimated 4.5 million viewers in the Middle East region alone, Asianet claims to be the leader in Malayalam television with two other Malayalam channels – Asianet News, dedicated to news, views and analysis; and Asianet Plus, an entertainment channel catering to the younger audience. The Asianet Middle East 24x7 channel will effectively replace the Asianet channel in the entire Middle East with effect from March 25.
The official launch of Asianet Middle East 24x7 will be held at a gala function in Dubai on April 7, 2010.