Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV gears up to launch Hindi news channel ahead of GE 2019

MUMBAI: Arg Outlier Media Asianet News, the company that owns English news channel Republic TV, is all set to launch its Hindi news channel Republic Bharat. Republic TV has carved a niche for itself in the English news genre becoming the number 1 channel ever since it launched.

The broadcaster is running an on-air promo announcing the arrival of the new channel. The channel is expected to launch ahead of the high-stakes General Election 2019, which is scheduled to take place in April-May.

The company has already made its first big hire in the form of former India News Editor- National Affairs Shamsher Singh. The hiring for the new channel began in October.

English news magazine The Caravan had reported in July that the company had hired financial consultancy firm Client Associates to mobilise funding for the Hindi news channel. The company had planned to raise Rs 120 crore for launching the Hindi news channel.

The fundraising note circulated by the Gurugram office of Client Associates had stated that the Hindi news channel scaling up in the next few years. It had also revealed that Republic plans to either go for an IPO or get a large strategic investor by 2020-21.

The note had also mentioned that Republic TV is the first English news channel in history to turn profitable within such a short span of time. It further stated that the Hindi news will strengthen the company’s broadcast portfolio, while its contents will feed into the company’s digital forays, thus providing additional avenues of monetisation.

It also contended that the Hindi News genre is ripe for disruption and will benefit immensely from Republic’s brand credibility.

The Hindi news genre is highly fragmented with a long tail of channels. The key players in this segment are Aaj Tak, ABP News, India TV, Zee News, News18 India, India News, and News Nation.

Republic Bharat will complement Republic TV and other sister channels from the Asianet News Network stable like Asianet News and Suvarna News.

While Arg Outlier Media Asianet News’ financial details are not in the public domain, Asianet News Network, which is owned by Republic TV’s investor Rajeev Chandrasekhar, is a profitable entity.

Goswami is the key promoter and managing director of Arg Outlier Media Asianet News. Chanrasekhar owns roughly 16% stake in the company through his investment firm Jupiter Capital.

As per the audited financial statement, Asianet News Network had posted a net profit of Rs 2.65 crore in FY17 as opposed to a net loss of Rs 14 lakh in the prior fiscal. The company’s FY17 revenue had seen a slight drop to Rs 93.5 crore as against Rs 95.45 crore in FY16.