Chennai-based Diksaat Transworld, which owns WIN TV Tamil and WIN TV Kannada, is gearing up to go national soon. To start with, it is planning to launch its Bangla channel WIN TV Bangla around Durga Puja this year, and is in the process of applying for licences to launch Marathi and Gujarati channels. And to fund the entire expansion, an IPO is in the offing.
Speaking to exchange4media, Florent C Pereira, Vice Chairman, WIN TV, said, “We are in the process of getting the necessary licence from the I&B ministry. It will be a full-fledged Bangla channel and we are currently on the lookout for people to run it, including a head for the channel. Ultimately, we will have our own teleport at Chennai from which we will be beaming all our channels.”
WIN TV Tamil, the group’s first channel, was launched in 2001. It is one of the three channels in the state to offer news, with Sun and Jaya being the other two. It is still bogged down by reach issues, and is not visible in the capital cities of three districts (Trichy, Coimbatore and Madurai) according to associates of the channel.
But this is an observation which Pereira is quick to refute, “Even in these cities, there are small operators and operators outside the city who carry our channel to the people. We are hopeful of being visible here too, in due course. We also decided to put in our own indicators on reach. Our call-in shows get responses from across the state and the country, from South Korea, Dubai and all over. If we did not have the reach, we would not have survived for over three years. ”
The Kannada channel was started in June 2004. Although Win TV Kannada has the license to offer news, it plans to do so only six months from now, after setting up the necessary infrastructure for the same. The Kannada channel is up linked from the Jain TV earth station in Delhi. Pereira said that the channel is doing ‘comfortably well’ in Karnataka, and added, “We are in a comfortable business relationship with the MSOs and Cable Operators in Karnataka, and it has proved mutually beneficial for us.”
Pereira said, “Our rural penetration is almost 100 per cent. When marketers need to reach rural audiences, WIN TV has proved to be the solution.” On the revenue, he said that the channel had made a turnaround and has started making profits now. The new ventures are to be funded by an IPO, the timeline for which was explained briefly as ‘shortly’.
The Bangla channel is to start as a 24-hour entertainment channel and the promoters will look at news only after a year. The primary Tamil channel has seen a shift in its programming mix, with less cinema and more political and social awareness programmes going on air, from June 1. These include a live call in show called ‘Needhiyai Thedi’ (In search of justice), where the callers present their grievances and WIN TV places calls to the concerned officials (and subsequently ministers if necessary) - all live.
The group is also said to be hunting for marketing professionals in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.