Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the sitting Rajya Sabha MP and a businessman who has interests ranging from media to software to logistics to hospitality, is set to expand his media business during the ongoing fiscal.
Jupiter Entertainment, which is the main vehicle to oversee all the entertainment investments spanning FM radio, regional television news channels and a strong Kannada newspaper, is all being readied for the next stage of rollout.
To start with, Kannada Prabha, the fourth largest Kannada newspaper in Karnataka is expected to be launched in New Delhi, one of the toughest newspaper markets in India. In addition to this, the FM radio business - under Radio Indigo, which currently has licenses in Bangalore and Goa, is expected to get in to Mumbai and Delhi markets when the next round of bidding happens during FY 13.
Chandrasekhar, during last year acquired 51 per cent stake in the Kannada Prabha from Manoj Kumar Sonthalia led - The New Indian Express Group, in a reported valuation of around Rs 300 crore. Since then, Chandrasekhar has been working on the product to spruce it up, expand the circulation and also brought in well-known names in the Kannada journalism to head and run the newspaper.
“The circulation is close to 200,000 in Karnataka and as a power centre, we are looking to launch the newspaper in Delhi with a initial print run of around 20,000 copies,” a spokesperson for the company told Business Standard.
He also added that the investment will be small as the edition will be a facsimile one and seeing the response, further expansion may be planned.
Jupiter Entertainment officials further noted that the FM radio business, which has built up a good niche by focusing exclusively on English music by operating stations in Bangalore and Goa, is looking at bidding for licenses in New Delhi and Mumbai, when the third round of bidding of licenses is expected during FY 13.
“The cost of licenses for each city will be around Rs 30 crore, almost similar to the cost during that of the second round,” another official of Jupiter Entertainment added.
Even as these properties is being expanded into new markets, the television news channels in Kannada and Malayalam, is being strengthened to fend of strong competition in this sector.
“We had thought of launching a Tamil news channel after diluted our majority stake in our General Entertainment Channel to Star TV, but we have for the time being stopped looking at that market. We are consolidating our position in the two states where we are present,” the official added.