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Quick five with Kartikeya Sharma on NewsX purchase

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Quick five with Kartikeya Sharma on NewsX purchase

Information TV is on an expansion drive. On one hand, the company is looking to consolidate its Hindi offer India News with not only a national channel but also create a seven-channel bouquet catering to various markets in Northern and Central India. On the other hand, it is looking to complement the offer by investing in the English news space with the purchase of general news channel NewsX.

NewsX, hitherto owned by Vinay Chhajlani – Jehangir Pocha combine, is now a 100 per cent Information TV owned company. For now, Pocha continues to be involved with the channel as its Editor-in-Chief.

Industry observers state that the deal implies consolidation and investment in the Indian news media space. Even though Kartikeya Sharma, Managing Director, Information TV does not divulge the commercials of the transaction, he speaks to exchange4media on why NewsX and the changes that can be expected in the brand in the near and long-term future.

Please share more on the thought process behind the deal.
NewsX was a logical expansion for us. At present we have a seven-channel plan, four of which begin launching from the next quarter and would be rolled out by 2013. The only thing remaining in our bouquet was an English news channel. From a viewer standpoint and also from advertiser and agency viewpoint, this allows us to make a wholesome offer. Also, there are many synergies that come from the deal that will benefit us as a company.

What are some of these group synergies that you are expecting?
For starters, content creation, revenue generation, syndication of content and news services. And in a tough news environment, all of this really matters. These synergies will help us in cutting costs. Let me give you an example – we have a team of 100-odd professionals at present and we get anywhere between 90-100 stories a day. We can utilise this more optimally when we have one more content outlet in the form of NewsX. The cost factor played a big role in finally closing this deal.

NewsX is not really a high ratings channel – how did you view this?
We believe one of the major problems that the channel is facing is on the distribution front and we intend focussing on that immediately. That said, NewsX has good content and a good content library. It is one of the reasons for us to take this decision.

Would you continue with brand NewsX?
For now yes, but it is too soon to say anything on the way forward.

What are some of the changes that one can expect in NewsX now?
There would be new programmes and new shows that we look to launch on the channel soon. Also on the cards is the new look and feel and a new website for the channel.

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