Sahara Samay Rastriya, the Hindi news channel from the Sahara Group, would be visible in a new avatar from Monday, October 29. This is to give the channel a new positioning and also to make a mark in the TRP ratings. The channel will have new content with special emphasis on women. Sports, culture and theatre-related programmes would also get adequate space. The channel will now be visible with a new colour scheme, graphics, animation, logo, presentation style and upgraded equipment.
“All our channels, especially the regional channels, have done very well. The national channel required some push for doing far better than what it is doing at present. Being good is not enough, it’s time to get the credibility. The channel has come up with a new on-air look and, more importantly, a new attitude,” explained Sumit Roy, Head, Sahara India Media.
He stressed that the Group would stick to its basic principle of not sensationalising news to garner TRPs and added that the channel would provide news and news-related programmes in a different dimension. It might mean features, discussions and news.
However, Roy also added, “We want to be TRP driven, because that’s a report card, a mirror for the channel, but not at the cost of authenticity of news.”
It is for the first time that the channel would provide FPC, which is a programme schedule, from time to time. “News channels normally do not go for FPC. It is the movie channels that provide programme schedules. We would also provide a national news update every two minutes through tickers. There would be no special progammes on crime, astrology, ghosts and the supernatural. Crime stories would be limited to news only and there would not be any unnecessary dramatisation,” said Punya Prasun Bajpai, Editor-in-Chief, Sahara Samay.
“The mornings will start in a never before seen format, which I don’t want to disclose right now. We have started a special programme dedicated to women. The first programme would be on Madhu Puri, sister of Arun Puri, Editor-in-Chief of India Today, and also the first editor of India Today. Not many people know her. The programme named ‘Mera Ashman’ would talk about similar talents in the country, their achievements, struggle and aspirations,” added Baipai.
Baipai would also host a programme, ‘Master’s Stroke’, which is a two-hour programme dealing with burning issues of the time. It would be a discussion-based programme.
As for promotional activities, the channel will have hoardings, print, TVC, radio and the Internet. “As our brand is already established we are not doing any brand promotion. This is only to inform our audience about the change in the face of the channel,” said Roy.
Abhijit Sarkar, Head-Corporate Communications, Sahara Group, said, "From October 29, Sahara Samay Rashtriya will don a new logo, look and feel and positioning. The channel will now be called Samay, with the positioning line 'Har Jagah Har Samay'. To communicate this to our target audience, we have planned an extensive outdoor campaign in conjunction with a print and an electronic exposure in major dailies and popular GECs. The campaign is intended to communicate this change primarily in the strongholds of our channel, specially the Hindi speaking belt. We have also taken up major FM channels in these regions and have plans for the Internet as well to support and spread the message."
Roy also hinted at some more plans in the near future, which include 2-3 new channels, of which could be in English. All these developments are expected by 2008. Meanwhile, English weekly, Sahara Times, is also expected to go from tabloid size to regular magazine size. The weekly is also expected to sport a new look and feel soon.