Another news and entertainment channel is set to enter the Tamil satellite television space. The former Chief News Editor of Tamil channel Raj TV, J Jayaseelan, will head the operations for 'N TV' (Native Television Private Limited) as CEO, and the channel hopes to go on air not later than August 15, 2005. The channel will begin operations as a free-to-air channel taking the cable route, and hopes to go DTH in due course.
The channel is promoted by a group of individuals including TV programming professional Bevarajulu Krishnamurthy, and art and culture supporter Jude Peries and chennai-based businessman Savarimuthu Ubald. The investment is estimated to touch Rs 25 crore in the first year. V Krishnamurthy, a former DD hand, is the Technical Advisor for the new venture.
Speaking to exchange4media, Jayaseelan said, "There is a gap for a good neutral news channel. We thought we could fill this vacuum." The entertainment and news content is envisaged at 50:50, and the channel claims to have tied up on the Teleport and Asiasat fronts. Further details on the technical specifications, though, were not forthcoming.
The channel will begin operations as a free-to-air channel taking the cable route, and hopes to go DTH in due course.
Jayaseelan clarified that the channel did not intend to poach from other channels. It had advertised in the print media for fresh reporting staff from across the state, and is starting a three-month training programme starting May for the trainees. In addition, the channel is looking at correspondents in all regions of the world where there is a sizeable Tamil population to gather news-based content of relevance to Tamilians the world over.
The team strength on news has been set at 150, including 30 correspondents, 30 cameramen and 30 assistants in Tamil Nadu. "We now have a network in place in the UK, the USA, Germany, Singapore and Malaysia. We are looking at more locations where there is a sizeable Tamil population. It should all be in place in the next three months or so."
The news channel space in Tamil satellite television is currently dominated by Sun News. Entertainment channels Sun TV and Jaya TV also air news bulletins. As reported by exchange4media (on February 21, 2005), Jaya TV's news and current affairs-based channel Jaya Plus is also readying itself to go on air shortly. Raj TV, whose news broadcast stopped on November 18, 2004, following licensing issues, is hopeful returning with its popular news bulletins. Dinamalar, the Tamil daily, is said to waiting in the wings to go on air in the form of a Television Channel. With so much action in the news space before the Assembly elections, one wonders how many more players will think it fit to enter the fray before the elections. Did someone say TV9? Keep guessing!
In another development, Tamizh-th-thirai, the latest entrant to the Tamil entertainment channel space, has postponed its launch yet again, this time to May 6. Test transmissions are visible in some parts of Chennai, and the channel's tie-up with SCV will be functional from May 1, according to a channel spokesperson.
Elsewhere, top executives from Jaya TV were in Malaysia on Thursday, along with movie star Kamalhassan, to launch Jaya TV's programmes on Astro Vanavil at an event to commemorate the launch.