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ABP News Network targets 20mn new viewers with ABP Ganga, plans afoot to enter south India soon

The network plans to gradually expand its base across India with regional channels to become a pan-India news broadcaster. In an interaction with BestMediaInfo.com, Avinash Pandey, CEO, ABP News Network, says the next step is to tap the south Indian market

ABP News Network (ANN) is strengthening its presence in regional news with the launch of 24-hour Hindi news channel ABP Ganga, which will cater to Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

With this channel, the network aims to broadcast news programming with national level of content and a swanky look and feel. The channel, with the tagline “Khabar aapki, zubaan aapki”, intends to offer its viewers pertinent local news and capture the sentiments of the markets. 

Avinash Pandey

Speaking about the launch of ABP Ganga, Avinash Pandey, CEO, ABP News Network told BestMediaInfo.com that UP is one of the fastest-growing states and people out there aspire to move out of the caste and religion divide and excel.

“Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand together comprise 16.5% of India’s population, hold 15% of the total seats in Lok Sabha and contribute around 8.4% to India’s GDP. People from UP are present all over India, doing some business. It is a very enterprising community and there was a need for a channel that can broadcast without any biases. ‘ABP Ganga’ resonates its fundamental DNA – the legacy of leadership, best practices and tradition of excellence,” he said.

With the launch of ABP Ganga, the broadcaster targets to add 20 million more audiences to the network by 2019-end Pandey said.

To attract viewers, the network is focusing on live bulletins and won't run on ANI or PTI feeds. The network has hired around 100 staff in UP and Uttarakhand for collecting news from districts and subdivisions. The channel is presently focusing on General Elections 2019 and has a programming line-up that features debates, election special shows and prime time news bulletins. Under the umbrella brand ‘2019 ka agneepath’, the programming features shows like “Sinhasan 80”, “Charcha garam hai” and “On Ground Conclaves”. After elections, the channel’s programming will start at 6 am and show news from the people’s perspective.

The launch has come in a time when there is a disruption in the TV distribution ecosystem. In such a time, industry experts are of the view that the launch of any new channel or initiative is a risky move.

Asked about the launch of the channel in such a time, Pandey said, “I don't disagree with it as it is not an easy proposition. But we made these plans several months ago and we wanted to move in that direction. What we saw is that no matter what happens people are interested in watching two kinds of live content – news and sports. We are in the news business and not in the entertainment business. People like to watch news live and that is what we are focusing on.”

Pandey said ABP Ganga is available across all cable networks. The channel is available on DD Freedish, Tata Sky 1108, JioTV, ABPLive app and YouTube. The channel will also be made available with other DTH operators.

To promote its new channel, they have a month-long campaign consisting of special TVCs that will run on the network’s channels as well as a few non-network channels. The network has bought slots in newspapers, radio, outdoor and digital for the campaign.

Apart from ABP Ganga, ANN has received a new TV channel licence from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB).

ANN is available in Hindi (ABP News), Marathi (ABP Majha), Bengali (ABP Bengali) and Gujarati (ABP Asmita).

The network also plans to enter the southern market with ABP Andhra (Telugu), ABP Kannada and ABP Tamil. With ABP Sanjha, the channel will have its presence in the Punjabi TV news market also. ABP Sanjha is already available on digital platforms.

Pandey concluded, “Right now there is no immediate plan for a launch. Yes, we applied for a licence and we got it. We have launch plans which we will inform you in appropriate time. South India is a very big part of India and if we don't touch it then we don't complete India. It is a tough market to break but we are working on it.”

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