Oriya daily Pragativadi is mulling to launch an infotainment satellite channel in Orissa. “The fund is in place. We will apply to the government for license soon. The channel should be in place within 18 months,” said Samahit Bal, Executive Editor, Pragativadi. The company has garnered Rs 10 crore as initial investment for the channel.
At present, ETV Oriya is the only private satellite channel running in Orissa, The channel has been running since January, 2002 and has become a household name in Orissa today. When asked how easy or difficult it was to break the clout of ETV Oriya, Bal replied, “ETV Oriya is known mostly for its high production quality, but most of its programmes are dubbed from other languages. We will match its production quality and our programming will be of higher standard. We will produce the news part ourselves and will mostly outsource the entertainment content.”
About its advantage over ETV Oriya, Bal said, “Unlike ETV Oriya, our sales network is well established, so our distribution cost will be lower than our competition’s. We also have a robust editorial presence all over Orissa.”
“The running cost will be around Rs 30-35 lakh per month. We will initially have two OB vans,” he further said.
With corporate giants like Reliance, Tata and Mittal Steel coming to Orissa, Bal felt that the group could leverage the power of both print and online for more corporate advertisements. At present, the print advertisement market in Orissa is around Rs 65 crore, according to industry estimates.
Pragativadi has some experience in creating news and non-news programmes for Doordarshan in the sponsored category, named ‘Asali Katha’ (Accurate News) and Naari (Woman).
Apart from the daily newspaper, the family owned group also publishes Kadambini, a monthly Oriya women’s magazine. The group is also into the education and healthcare businesses.