STAR Ananda, the 24-hour Bengali news channel from Media Content & Communications Services (MCCS), completed three years on June 1, 2008.
Speaking on the occasion Ashok Venkatramani, CEO, MCCS, said “It has been a great journey since STAR Ananda hit the airwaves and growing prodigiously ever since. Through STAR Ananda, in the last three years we have succeeded to keep the populace informed, stimulated their minds and have provided them with a platform to voice their opinions. No surprise that in a short span of time STAR Ananda has rewritten history as it has not only been clearly in charge of the Bengali news genre, but also gone ahead to rival the reach of some GECs. It indeed feels proud to be part of a movement that has introduced a paradigm shift in the broadcast of regional language news, based on the strong foundation of viewer relevance and trail-blazing leadership.”
Venkatramani claimed that the channel had shown a strong year-on-year growth in viewership, defying any pressures of new entrants and fragmentation. He further said that the channel enjoyed a reach of about 6 million viewers, which was still way above its closest competitors.
“Importantly, more than the quantitative measurement, it is the revolutionising of language news viewership that established STAR Ananda as the true expression of West Bengal,” Venkatramani added.
He further said that this successful trend for STAR Ananda began with the launch on June 1, 2005, when it quickly consolidated with the Municipal Elections in Kolkata, notching up a market share of 69 per cent on polling day on June 19, also being the highest watched channel during the Exit Polls, leaving even the GEC channels far behind. Other incidents include coverage of the Assembly Elections in 2006, Durga Puja celebrations in 2007, and the Rizwanur murder case. Venkatramani added that STAR Ananda mirrored the Bengali sentiment like none other when it took a principled stand on the Nandigram issue.
Commenting on the channel’s future, Venkatramani said, “The future looks promising. STAR Ananda is now complemented by a partner in the online space with www.staranandalive.com. Going forward, there are great plans with this medium. We will continue to leverage the strengths of the ABP network and STAR India, along with the rapidly increasing force and impact of the sister channel, STAR News.”
“We can look forward to a healthy mix of informative and thought-provoking programmes. Bulletin-formats, focus on the local flavour, perceptive delivery, entertainment coverage, sports and an unmatched influence as we go forward. Starting with 2008, STAR Ananda also sits in an enviable position with the broadcast rights to the Kolkata Football League for four years. In fact, most of our efforts would go into making this opportunity bigger not just on viewership scales, but also in delivering a more complete experience to both advertisers and viewers in the true flavour and spirit of West Bengal.”