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Kartikeya Sharma’s iTV Network plans big-bang expansion with seven new channels

MUMBAI: Kartikeya Sharma-promoted iTV Network, which owns and operates seven news channels including NewsX in English and India News in Hindi, is all set to embark on a big-bang expansion drive. This will see the news network venturing into regional and factual entertainment, besides adding to the existing fleet of news channels.

Seven new launches are being planned, including three news channels (one in HD), two regional entertainment channels, and two factual entertainment channels (one in UHD).

itv network logoThe network is all set to add two regional channels to its bouquet, by launching a Bengali news channel and one for the North East region. The two news channels are likely to be named ITV Bangla and ITV NE.

The main brand of the Hindi and regional news network is India News. The regional news bouquet includes India News Haryana, India News Uttar Pradesh, India News Rajasthan and India News Madhya Pradesh.

The Bangla news channel will address the lucrative and important Bengali-speaking market, which is currently ruled by ABP News Network’s ABP Ananda, ETV News Network’s ETV News Bangla and Zee Media’s 24 Ghanta.

ITV NE will target the strategically important region of North East covering the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim. It is pertinent to note that Focus News Network was the only leading TV network to have a news channel dedicated to North East. However, the network has put curtains down on that channel.

Almost three years after acquiring NewsX from the late Jehangir Pocha and Nai Duniya’s Vinay Chhajlani, the network is all set to launch NewsX in HD, which will be a first-of-its-kind initiative for Indian news channels.

Planned as an ad-free news channel, NewsX HD will deliver a multi-screen experience on a single screen to the multitasking high-profile urban viewers of India.

NewsX HD will aim to offer viewers non-stop ad-free news content, including what is happening on social media like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram, while getting additional information feeds like weather and stock indices all in a seamless experience on one screen.

iTV Network is all set to enter the regional general entertainment space. It plans to launch an Assamese-language general entertainment channel. The name of the channel is likely to be ITV Hi Life. The Haryanvi entertainment channel is likely to be named ITV AND.

Currently, there is no dedicated entertainment channel for these two markets. Focus News Network had a dedicated GEC for Assam called Focus Hi Fi.

In one of the most ambitious projects of the network, the company is planning to launch India’s first 4K channel in October. It will be called Insight 4K.

Insight 4K will be complemented by an HD channel called Insight HD, which will have the same content as Insight 4K, albeit in HD.

Insight claims to have the world’s largest UHD content library comprising 200 hours of original and 200 hours of acquired content. It promises to provide a more entertaining viewing experience with dynamic TV formats.

iTV Network is a fast growing news network, with two national news channels, four regional news channels, two newspapers, and various digital assets. It employs more than 2025 people across 25 bureaus/offices and has more than 106 live video sources. iTV Network has a cumulative reach of more than 100 million viewers and readers on a regular basis.

In March, the network had unveiled a new brand identity. It had also made appointments to its senior management team including Dilip Venkatraman as group COO – strategy and business development, Sanjay Dua as group chief revenue officer and CEO NewsX, and Savvy Dilip as group CMO. All three were previously associated with TV18.

Kartikeya Sharma, in partnership with Sporty Solutionz’s Ashish Chadha, had recently diversified into sports business with the launch of Pro Wrestling League. Sharma has floated a new company Pro Sportify to organise the league.