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TV18 to have one channel for Punjab, Haryana and Himachal under News18 brand

MUMBAI: TV18-owned ETV News Network is set to revamp its regional news channel ETV Haryana/Himachal, which will be renamed News18 Punjab/Haryana/Himachal. The revamped channel will be unveiled on 10 April.

The regional news channel’s coverage was earlier limited to Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, but in its new avatar it will also cover Punjab, which is the biggest market among the three. It will be a bilingual channel in Punjabi and Hindi.

In fact, industry sources say that a major focus of the channel will be Punjab, followed by Haryana and Himachal Pradesh in that order.

ETV News Haryana/Himachal was launched on 28 March 2014. At that time, ETV News Network managing editor Rajesh Raina had revealed the company’s plan to launch a channel dedicated to Punjab.

In fact, TV18 had received a licence under the name News18 Punjab. The latest move means that the company did not see any merit in launching a full-fledged channel just for Punjab. Earlier, ABP News Network had shelved plans to launch a Punjabi news channel due to distribution related issues.

TV18 had recently got the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting’s (MIB) approval to rename ETV Haryana/Himachal. The channel has two main bureaus in Chandigarh and Shimla.

Chandigarh being the common capital of Punjab and Haryana will continue to serve as the main bureau, with Shimla being the other bureau.

At the time of its launch, ETV News Haryana/Himachal had two editors, one for Haryana and one for Himachal. Balwant Takshak was the editor for Haryana, while Shashi Bhushan led the Himachal newsroom.

Takshak has since left the channel while senior editor Ritesh Lakhi has taken charge of the channel. Bhushan’s role remains unchanged.

This will be the third major rebranding exercise by TV18 since it was taken over by Mukesh Ambani. The first one to get rebranded was CNN-IBN, which has since adorned the name CNN-News18. Next in line was IB7, which was renamed News18 India.

TV18 had also launched three regional news channels under the News18 brand, namely News18 Tamil Nadu, News18 Kerala and News18 Assam/North East. Company sources indicate that the larger plan is to align all the group channels under the News18 brand.

The key players in the Punjabi news market are PTC News, Zee Punjab/Haryana/Himachal Pradesh, MH1 News, and Day & Night News.