Telugu news channel TV9 is set to start five new channels by the end of this year. TV9 ,which started operations last February, plans to start news channels in Karnataka, Maharashtra, West Bengal, and Delhi.
This apart, the company will also start a Telugu entertainment channel soon to improve its mindshare among the masses.
Speaking on the sidelines of a press conference to announce its tie-up with Idea Cellular, Ravi Prakash, chief executive officer of TV9, said, “By this year end, we will be launching five city-centric news channels in Bangalore, Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai.”
“The channels for our Bangalore and Mumbai audience will be bilingual. For Bangalore, the channel will be aired in Kannada and English and for Mumbai it will be in Hindi and English,” Prakash said. “All the remaining channels will be in their respective local languages,” he added.
“We will be employing around 400 people for each channel,” Prakash said. “This apart, we will also be launching a local entertainment channel by this year end,” he added.
Prakash, however, refused to disclose the investment figures for the proposed expansion plans. TV9’s tie-up with Idea Cellular is with regard to a quiz-based programme called ‘Idea IQ’ that will be aired on the channel from February 6, 2005.
Idea subscribers will have the opportunity to answer three general knowledge based questions that will be provided with three options each.
The five-minute programme will be aired daily, twice every hour, for which answers will have to be sent through SMS. At the end of the day, a lucky draw will be held, that will fetch the winner a prize worth Rs 4,999 on odd days and Rs 20,000 on Sundays.
Pradeep Shrivastava, circle head, Idea Cellular, Andhra Pradesh, said, “The programme is at present scheduled for three months although we are looking at making it a long-term programme later.”
“This apart, we are also planning to launch our next generation EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution) technology in Vijayawada and Vizag in the next three months,” Shrivastava added.
EDGE is a technology that delivers broadband-like data speed to mobile devices. It enables consumers to connect to the Internet, send or receive data and digital images, besides web pages and photographs, at a speed that is three times faster than ordinary network.
Idea added 32,000 more subscribers in the last month and is looking at crossing the 40,000 mark this month, Shrivastava said. Its total subscriber base in the state as on January 31, 2005 is 6.02 lakh, he added.