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Malayalam Communications to launch second channel

06-March-2004
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Malayalam Communications to launch second channel

Malayalam Communications Ltd, which owns the Malayalam satellite television channel Kairali TV, is expecting to launch its second television channel in six months.

Mr John Brittas, Managing Director, Malayalam Communications Ltd, said that the new channel will focus on current affairs programming. The effort with this channel will be to go beyond `news' and telecast informative programmes for the more `serious' viewer, he added. The programmes on this channel will attempt to keep people informed about the latest developments in areas such as agriculture, technology, tourism and so on, he explained.

Meanwhile, the company has decided to set up a television complex in Thiruvananthapuram, said Mr Brittas. This facility, which will include studios and an earth station, will help consolidate the channel's news, programming and administrative operations in one location, he added. The company is in the process of identifying a suitable plot of land for building this facility, he said.

The company, which is in its fourth year of operations, expects to achieve operational break-even in the current financial year, said Mr Brittas. The channel's revenues have grown steadily over the past few months, and revenues in the current fiscal are expected to cross Rs 18 crore.

Advertisements from within Kerala, including `local' classifieds, have emerged as a major source of revenue for the channel, he said. In fact, `local' classifieds, which cost between Rs 1,000 and Rs 2,000 for 5 to 10 second spots, have proved to be extremely popular across Kerala, Mr Brittas added. These classifieds give small, local businesses an opportunity to reach out to a large audience at a reasonable rate, he declared.

When asked whether the company had plans to make Kairali TV a `pay' channel, he replied that it would remain a free-to-air channel in India and West Asia. However, the channel has already gone `pay' in the US, and will soon become a `pay' channel in Europe, he added.

On the programming front, the channel will begin telecasting a series of one-hour `election specials' every evening from March 15, said Mr Brittas. These one-hour programmes will also be telecast in the afternoon `band', he added. The channel also plans special live coverage of the election results, with live uplinks from New Delhi, Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi, he said.

Further changes in the channel's programming mix will be made when the second channel is ready to be launched, he said. It may be recalled that the channel had revamped its `look' and programming mix from January 1 this year. A total revamp of its news and current affairs programming was also undertaken as part of this exercise.

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