The regional television news market is set to expand further with the proposed launch of three new regional news channels in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Goa today. These 24-hour free-to-air news and current affairs channels, christened STV UP News, STV Haryana News and STV Goa News, are being launched by STV Enterprises Ltd, promoted by JK Jain. The Group’s flagship Punjabi news channel Punjab Today has successfully completed five years of operations.
JK Jain, Chairman and Editor-in Chief, STV Enterprises, informed that while the UP and Haryana channels will be in Hindi, the Goa channel will have news bulletins in Konkani and English. He added, “We will be entering Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir markets as well, and for this, Punjab Today is being converted into a three-in-one channel from today, with an eight-hour news window on Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and J&K. After a period of time, these will be spun off as separate channels. We are already negotiating with Prasar Bharati for carrying the UP and Haryana channels on the DTH network.”
STV Haryana News is headed by Dharampal Dhankar who is Executive Editor, while Punjab Today is headed by Pradip Sharma. STV Goa News and STV UP News are temporarily under the responsibility of Executive Director Gokul Kumar, and Group Consultant, CEO and Chief Editor Sanjay Dwivedi, respectively. According to Dwivedi, the Group is looking for channel heads for the UP and Goa channels.
Meanwhile, a teleport has already been made operational in South Delhi and four OB vans are initially being set up to start live news coverage. Dwivedi said, “We have set up a network of reporters at the district level, and stringers at the block and tehsil levels. We have as many as 13 bureaux in UP at Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi, Bareilley, Itawa, Rai Bareli, Allahabad, Jhansi, Gorakhpur, Chitrakoot, Moradabad, Faizabad and Banda, and five bureaux in Haryana at Karnal, Ambala, Rohtak, Hissar and Sirsa. We are in the process of setting up three new bureaux in Gurgaon, Faridabad and Bhiwani. In Goa, we have a bureau in Panaji and a reporter network in entire Goa.”
Following the launch of these three regional news channels, STV Enterprises has chalked out massive expansion plans. “By March 2008, we will have three more Hindi news channels, which will be operational in the states of MP, Chattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Rajasthan. By 2009, we will have a strong bouquet of 33 regional news channels,” said Jain. Besides these regional plans, the Group has an ambitious plan to launch a national Hindi news channel next year.