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ABP mulls Gujarati news channel after shelving Punjabi plans

MUMBAI: ABP News Network, earlier known as Media Content & Communications Services (MCCS), is considering launching a Gujarati news channel. Earlier, the news broadcasters had shelved its plans to launch Punjabi news channel ABP Sanjha.

Sources in the company confirmed to TelevisionPost.com that a Gujarati news channel is ‘one of the many options’ the company is looking at.

“We are looking at various options and Gujarati is definitely one of them,” he said.

Incidentally, the company has got the approval of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) to change the name of its proposed Punjabi news channel ABP Sanjha to ABP Samachar Gujarati.

ABP had received the licence for ABP Sanjha on 30 July last year after a wait of over 18 months. It initially planned to enter the Punjab market with a regional news channel in early 2013. While it was waiting to procure the licence, the company also set up a small team to feed its YouTube channel.

However, as it was gearing for the launch, the management decided not to go ahead with the plan and told the 180+ employees that the plan of launching the channel had been shelved, offering them a three-month severance package.

Media analysts feel that the one-year extension in the DAS Phase III and IV deadlines by the Narendra Modi-led NDA government would have forced the company to pay a higher carriage in the analogue cable regime. Additionally, Punjab’s cable TV business is dominated by a single multi-system operator (MSO), Fastway Transmissions.

However, Gujarat is another market which is led by a single MSO. GTPL dominates the market. Also, since the Gujarati population has a high affinity for Hindi, there have been very few regional channels in the state.

While there are standalone regional news and current affairs channels, only CNBC Bazaar (Gujarati business news) and Colors Gujarati (Gujarati entertainment channel) are run by national broadcasters.

ABP News Network runs three news channels—ABP News (Hindi), ABP Ananda (Bengali), and ABP Majha (Marathi).

Meanwhile, as of 31 May 2015, there are 826 total permitted TV channels, out of which 402 are news and current affairs and 424 are non-news and current affairs channels. As reported earlier by TelevisionPost.com, Da Vinci Media has received the licence from the MIB to run a kids TV channel.

In the previous updated list, there were 830 permitted TV channels. This means that there has been a drop of five channels from the previous list.

Click here to read the entire list of channels.

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