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Star News wants to be a people's channel: CEO

Nithya Subramanian

Star India seems to be leaving no stone unturned to get its Hindi news channel going. It will leverage all the advantages of being part of the Star bouquet. "We want the news channel to be available wherever Star Plus is available," said Ms Kohli.

NEW DELHI, April 10

WITH a host of news channels going on air, differentiation seems to be the key. So if Headlines Today is targeting the youth, Star News Hindi is looking at becoming a `people's channel'.

In an exclusive interview with Business Line, the CEO of Star News, Ms Ravina Raj Kohli, said, "We are really looking to becoming a people's channel. Star News is not a platform for biased news or propaganda. The reliability of news is important. News is news when it is relevant to us." And in line with the image of Star in India, this channel too, will have all the gloss and sheen.

Star India seems to be leaving no stone unturned to get its Hindi news channel going. It will leverage all the advantages of being part of the Star bouquet.

For starters, promotions of Star News are being run across all channels. Several more on-air and on-ground promos are being planned. The news channel will also improve its reach, riding on the wide distribution prowess of Star Plus, the flagship channel. "We want the news channel to be available wherever Star Plus is available," said Ms Kohli.

But moving away from the earlier format wherein Star News was a bilingual channel — Hindi and English — this time it has become a 24-hour Hindi channel. "Going completely Hindi, I think, is a good decision. Our audiences are those who understand Hindi but prefer to read English. According to research, our viewership gains are likely to be much more than what we lose. The drop-outs are going to be nominal," she added.

Programmes have been tailored to attract such audiences.

Star India also believes that going completely Hindi would help in bringing in the advertisers. Though the channel is charging a premium on its ad rates, it claims to have already tied up with some big advertisers.

"There is a special marketing team for the news channel, but there could be some cross-selling across channels," Ms Kohli said.

Though there are no immediate plans of launching an English channel, Ms Kohli said that this could be considered after the Hindi takes off and stabilises. For now the focus is clearly on the Star News Hindi.

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