The Hyderabad-based Associated Broadcasting Company Pvt. Ltd (ABCL), which operates under the TV9 brand, is all set to launch a national English news channel, to be headquartered in Bangalore. At the same time, the company is also launching a Hindi news channel and a film news channel, both to be based in Mumbai.
The film news channel has been christened as Lehren TV. Its content would be 100 per cent film-centric, packaged into news, information, chat and gossip formats. Lehren is aimed at being the medium of choice for millions in India and overseas that consume news and entertainment relating to Bollywood.
ABCL also plans to launch a news channels for the NCR in Hindi, and in Tamil for Chennai. All these channels are expected to go on air in the next six months. "The work for all these channels is in an advanced stage and we will be launching them in the next six months. Our expertise lies in the news genre and we will exhaust them first. We want to be a pan-India player with news channels across the country,'' said Clifford Pereira, Director, ABCL.
Besides focusing on local news, the 24-hour English news channel will also cover national, international, sports and other relevant news. Mahendra Mishra, who is currently Director of TV9 Karnataka Pvt. Ltd, will head the group's English news channel as well.
TV9 currently operates news channels in Telugu, Kannada and Gujarati languages under the TV9 brand. ABCL also owns a Telugu devotional channel, Sanskruti. The group has recently acquired 51 per cent stake in Bengali news channel, Kolkata TV, in an all-cash deal. With the purchase of Kolkata TV, ABCL has thus spread its footprint in the Eastern market. ABCL also handles the sales and marketing of Indiavision, a Malayalam news channel, and is also holding an equity participation talks with Indiavision which is still inconclusive, said Pereira.
"We are already a force to reckon with. The week from May 25 to May 31 saw the channel shares of our network channels in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Kerala and Gujarat surging and becoming the number one network across India," said Pereira, quoting TAM ratings.
As is known, ABCL is 80 per cent owned by iLabs, which is a venture fund, and Unified Group. The balance 20 per cent is held by Ravi Prakash and five other professionals.