If sources are to be believed the highly successful Hindi News Channel from the Living Media Group Aaj Tak might go pay as early as next month. It is believed that the move would coincide with the launch of the English news channel from the group.
When contacted by exchange4media, G Krishnan, CEO, Aaj Tak refused to comment on the development saying, "It is too early to comment on anything". But sources say the channel has already done the groundwork with cable operators to settle distribution and subscription related issues. The channel, market sources indicate, is expected to charge 4 Rs. per household. Going by the 22 million HH connectivity claimed by Aaj Tak this move could prove to be a money-spinner for the group even if they get a declaration of 15% of the actual connectivity from the cable operators.
The group's English channel, which has been tightly under wraps so far is also expected to be launched around the same time. This would give Aaj Tak a lead over the other new player, NDTV and Star's own news channel.
Some media analysts believe this move could prove to be a winner for the channel as it can help the group derive more revenues but reaction across the industry is mixed. Some media planners exchange4media spoke to, almost sarcastically remark that if this move brings down the channel's connectivity it would help them getting better advertising rates from Aaj Tak.
With NDTV's own channel in the wings and Star TV dabbling with a Hindi format, user loyalty in the end will decide which channel can earn the most subscription monies.