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Agriculture-focused channel Green TV to launch by September end

MUMBAI: Even as the government continues to work out the details of its proposed television channel for agriculture, Mumbai-based ad film production company Nomad Films has gone ahead to start a channel targeted at rural audiences.

A brainchild of the company’s managing director Junaid Memon, Green TV started testing signals on 15 August. The official launch of the channel will take place towards the end of September, informed Memon.

green-TVThe free-to-air channel will have Hindi and Tamil feed. “Initially, we will have only Hindi feed, but after three months of launch we plan to start Tamil feed as well,” he disclosed.

The channel will provide programming on agriculture-related topics including biotechnology, farm mechanisation, crop protection, horticulture, animal husbandry and food processing.

“The main objective of the channel is to provide a wholesome package of news and information about agriculture and allied sectors which can make the lives of rural folks better,” said Memon.

Though the company had received the licence for the channel early this year, the work on it had been going on for more than three years.

The channel will have six hours of original programming a day. About 80 per cent of the content will be produced in-house while the remaining 20 per cent will be outsourced.
“Producing agriculture-related content is a very challenging task. We have been training people in our production team for the last one and a half to help them gain insight into agriculture-related content,” averred Memon.

He also wondered why there are no channels catering to a large community like farmers who form 50–60 per cent of the population.

Memon further stated that the company is in talks with private equity firms to raise funds. He is expecting the channel to break even in four to five years.

Distribution

In terms of distribution, Memon said that the channel will focus on areas covered under Phases III and IV of cable TV digitisation as that is where most of its core target audience is. It will also bid for a slot on Prasar Bharati’s free direct-to-home (DTH) service Freedish.

“We are mainly targeting rural analogue market. We have a team of 25 people who are seeding boxes in smallest possible areas,” disclosed Memon.

The channel won’t spend money on carriage fee. It will rather educate cable operators about the need of this channel for their subscribers.

“We are not fighting for getting carried on cable networks; however, we will make them understand the importance of this channel for the rural community,” explained Memon.

Biz model

Talking about the business model, Memon said that Green TV will be an ad-supported channel.

”We can’t have pay revenues due to the audience that we are targeting. However, we see good scope in ad revenue as there is no vehicle today that allows advertisers to reach this community,” he explained.

The channel will target first-time advertisers like seed companies besides a host of other companies that provide agriculture-related products. It will also tap mainline advertisers like FMCG who want to reach out to the rural community.

Memon stated that the channel is being promoted primarily through on-ground events as there are very few vehicles to advertise. The channel is associating with agriculture-related events to grow its visibility.

He is also unperturbed by the government’s proposed channel Kisan TV. “Competition is always good. When you have competition, your product will be differentiated by the content you provide. Content becomes the king and people will watch a channel that has superior content,” Memon signed off.