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Odia news market heats up with the launch of ETV News Odia

MUMBAI: With the launch of three news channels in the first half of 2015, the Odia news market is seeing a lot of action. After Prameya News7 and Kalinga TV, TV18’s ETV News Network has added ETV News Odia to its large network of nine channels.

The channel was formally launched on Monday by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The channel is available on all leading cable TV platforms in the state including Ortel Communications, which is the dominant player in that market.

etv-news-odiaAs Colors Odia (ETV Odia) has become a full-fledged general entertainment channel (GEC), the launch of ETV News Odia completes the process of launching news channels in a market where infotainment channels have become full-fledged GECs.

Nilambar Rath is the editor of the channel. He had earlier worked with ETV News Network for more than eight years as the head of news at ETV Odia channel. Later he joined Naxatra News as editor in chief. After leaving Naxatra News, he started his own media institute ‘Academy for Media Learning’.

Being a neighbouring state, ETV News Odia will be telecast from Hyderabad, said ETV News Network Group Editor Rajesh Raina.

The main studio of the channel is in Hyderabad while Bhubaneswar will have a studio for talk shows and discussions. The main bureau will be located in Bhubaneswar.

The editorial team currently has 65 people with 40 of them based in Hyderabad while the remaining 25 will be based in Bhubaneswar.

Last year, ETV News Network had launched ETV News Bangla, ETV News Kannada, ETV News Haryana/Himachal and ETV News Gujarati.

In Odisha, ETV News Odia’s launch was preceded by the launch of Prameya News7 and Kalinga TV. Incidentally, both news channels are owned by education entrepreneurs.

Kalinga TV is owned by Kalinga Media Entertainment Pvt Ltd (KEMPL), which is promoted by a group of individuals associated with Bhubaneswar-based Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT).

Prameya News7 is owned by Summa Real Media, a company promoted by Prof. Dr Manoj Ranjan Nayak who has interests in education through Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan University (SOAU).

According to a senior news editor with a leading Odia news channel, the boom in Odia TV news market is being fuelled by education entrepreneurs, which is unlike the past when chit fund companies were at the forefront of launching news channels.

“Post elections, a lot of channels are being launched by edu entrepreneurs. I think one of the reasons for this phenomenon is their desire to promote their institutions. Previously, chit funds had launched many channels; now its edu entrepreneurs,” observed the editor.

Being an established brand, ETV will also be a force to reckon with, he added.

While the TV news market is expanding, OTV continues to be the biggest player with the next channel trailing it by a long margin.

Apart from OTV, the other serious players in the market are Sambad Group’s Kanak TV, Zee Kalinga, Focus Odisha, Naxatra News, Prameya News7, and Kalinga TV.

satya sobhan patnaik“There is a huge vacuum in Odisha TV news market as OTV currently is the only dominant player. After OTV, there is no second channel. Ideally, Odisha should be a three-channel market. OTV has 180 GRPs, while Zee Kalinga and Focus Odisha hover around 35 GRPs,” said Prameya News7 GM of sales and marketing Satya Sobhan Patnaik.

The launch of news channels has come as a boon for multi-system operator (MSO) Ortel. The launch of more TV channels means more carriage revenue for the MSO, which recently got listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Bibhu Rath“We are happy that more and more Odia channels are being launched in the market. Apart from improving our carriage revenue, this will also provide more regional content to the customers,” said Ortel president and CEO Bibhu Prasad Rath.

Rath also said that cable being a de-centralised platform and with no bandwidth constraints, Ortel is better poised to cater to local tastes.

“The ability to carry more regional channels has always been a key advantage for cable vis-a-vis DTH operators. I believe the launch of more Odia channels will improve our competitive advantage in our core market of Odisha,” he stated.

As per industry estimates, the total TV ad market in Odisha stands at Rs 150 crore (Rs 1.5 billion) with GEC accounting for 60–70 per cent of the pie. The ad market is growing at 15 per cent year on year.