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Asianet enters 24-hr Kannada news space

BS Reporter  |  Chennai/ Bangalore 

The battle for grabbing a bigger pie of the Rs 200 crore per annum advertisement market in the Kannada television industry will hot up from next week with the launch of Suvarna News, a 24-hour Kannada channel.
Suvarna News, the third 24-hour Kannada channel after Udaya Varthegalu and TV9, has been launched by Asianet Communications Limited, the Rs 150 crore bouquet of satellite-based regional television channels, from March 31.
Part of Asianet Television Network, is the second channel to be launched under the Suvarna brand umbrella. Suvarna's general entertainment channel was launched in June 2007 to coincide with the golden jubilee of the formation of Karnataka state.
Said K Sanjay Prabhu, chief operating officer, Suvarna News, "Through this channel we are aiming at acquiring a sizeable chunk of the advertisement market in the Kannada television industry. We will be providing and current affairs programmes in Kannada in a transparent and unbiased manner. Advanced visual and digital effects will be provided for the first time to Kannada TV viewers."
Asianet Communications Limited, a part of Rajeev Chandrasekhar promoted Jupiter Entertainment Ventures, has invested Rs 110 crore for the launch of two Suvarna channels in Kannada and hopes to break-even in two years, Prabhu told reporters here today.
He said the company will be investing an equal amount to launch three more channels during the next financial year to take the number of TV channels to eight. It presently operates three channels in Malayalam language.
Prabhu said the company's first Kannada channel, Suvarna, is likely to close the present fiscal with a turnover of Rs 30 crore and is aiming to double the turnover to Rs 60 crore in FY'09 with the addition of its second channel in Kannada.
"We have made a significant investment in acquiring 350 movies in Kannada, both old and new. We will be looking at grabbing a sizeable chunk of the advertisement market by telecasting those movies," Prabhu said.
The editorial team of is led by Shashidhar Bhat. To coincide with the launch of the 24-hour channel, the company is instituting an award, Suvarna Kannadiga, to recognise outstanding contribution towards Karnataka in the field of sports, literature, technology, health, philanthropy, business, art and culture, Bhat said.
The inaugural award will be given to Dr Vijayalakshmi Deshmane, Director of Kidwai Institute of Oncology, who has been chosen through an extensive SMS poll, on March 31.


First Published: Sat, March 29 2008. 00:00 IST