Tamil television space will receive a new entrant in the Chennai market by mid –October. News7 Tamil, a Tamil news channel which had an official launch on Oct 2 is all set to go on air sometime between 15 and 25 th of this month. With a claim to be the first Tamil news channel with a distinct Tamil perspective on world news, the channel aims to reach out to the entire global diaspora spread across various countries and time zones offering news and infotainment content.
October 2, A R Rahman launched the jingle created for News7 Tamil followed by a concert by the legend for Tamilians in Chennai. It is also believed that A R Rahman will be associating with the channel through some programmes in the future.
V Subramanian of Alliance Broadcasting promotes the channel.
Talking about the significance of the name of the channel, S Senthil Velavan, Head- Operations, News7 Tamil said, “Seven is a number that is considered to be a majority in Google. Not only that, as far as news is concerned, seven is a sharp number and news is also supposed to be sharp so that was the thought process behind the name News7.”
While acknowledging the fact that there were several well-established players in the Tamil news channel space, Velavan remained upbeat and said, “We will be the youngest and technologically most advanced Tamil news channel in the world. So, I think we will definitely make a mark and gain the top spot as we are a skilled team and the top slot is always empty for those who deserve it.”
At the same time Velavan also said, “We will be concentrating more on the presentation of the channel and the content and all our marketing initiatives will revolve around the objective of getting the younger generation to watch news. That is why we claim to be a channel for the youth.”
The reason behind Velavan’s confidence about gaining a good position in the market is the channel’s USP, which according to him is, “News7 Tamil will be an infotainment channel with at the beginning will have 80 per cent of news and 20 per cent of programmes related to travel and food industry. Not only this, the news and programmes will emphasise on in-depth coverage of the state, national and world issues with a Tamil perspective to it.”
The editorial board is currently led by a team of globally experienced professionals including Nick Walshe former Head of News gathering for the launch of AL Jazeera English (and previously a reporter and editor with ITN of London and the BBC); R Bhagwan Singh former Executive-Editor- Deccan Chronicle, Chennai; current News Head Rajesh Sundaram, former India correspondent, AL Jazeera English (and previously Editor- Input at TV Today Network and founding editor of News National and South Africa’s Africa News Network 7); Meena Kandasamy, a well-known poet, novelist and social activist based in London; Priti Mohan a 30 year old lawyer and columnist with a keen interest in culture and music. Apart from all the seven, Amrita Gandhi granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi will be acting as executive producer for special programs.
All the seven editorial board members will serve for one year each extendable by up to one more year. The board will also appoint a Chairperson who would also serve for tenure of one year extendable by another year. The only permanent member of the board will be the News Head/ Editor of the channel.
The channel plans to enter all the Tamil speaking diaspora and immediately after they go on air, the target is to get to South Africa, Canada and US.
The channel has taken a 360-degree route for promotional activities including their new TVC. The channel has created branding for each class of audience for example for middle class they have opted for branding in tea cups and tea shops across Tamil Nadu apart from outdoor hoardings and for upper class, the channel has done branding on all trolleys and hoardings inside the Chennai airport.
News7 Tamil will be available on Sun Direct, Airtel DTH, Tata Sky, Videocon DTH, Arasu Cable, SCV and all other major distribution platforms across Tamil Nadu and nationally. Currently, the channel is present on all major social media platforms including FB, YouTube and twitter to grab the youth’s attention towards the channel.
The channel is on talks with various advertisers to come on board. Their aim is to get FMCG players to advertise on their channel, which to Velavan is going to be a challenge.
When exchange4media spoke to some of the broadcasters from the industry, on condition of anonymity, they said that to come up with a news channel in Tamil Nadu is not something that will be an easy way to make a dent in the market. Tamil Nadu out of the other four states is a very politically driven market and stating to be neutral, will be met with cynicism.
It is also believed that News7 Tamil, if pro government and could have political back up, could be a direct competitor to New Generation Media Corporation’s Puthiya Thalaimurai channel. The channel is also said to be looking at entering the GEC space in the next year.
Another broadcaster remarked, “News7 Tamil is trying to redefine the genre by saying that it will be a channel for the youth. This would be one of the toughest things for them, as the consumption of news in Tamil Nadu is very less when compared to other states in India and especially youth are not too skewed towards news channels. Also, since there is a political backup, making a dent in the market by being neutral is going to be a tough game for them. ”