Zee News Ltd has decided to shut down its loss-making Gujarati general entertainment channel from 30 April.
"We are shutting down Zee Gujarati as it was making losses. The revenue from that market is also too small as the local viewers have a very high consumption of Hindi entertainment," Zee News Ltd CEO Barun Das tells Indiantelevision.com
Sakshi and Mahaa TV got licenses and this is shown in the website of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. They must have got the signed letters a couple of days ago since the Sakshi management has started sending out its logos very recently and the Heads at Mahaa distributed sweets. The final hurdle has been crossed ant now it is for the leaders of these channels to go ahead and air their channels. Now the three channels due for February launch are Studio N, Saakshi and Mahaa. But the recruitment in Mahaa is still incomplete and it may take another fortnight. Mr. CR Naidu, Chairman , Mahaa TV ( an ex official of the Police Department) is confident enough that his channel will be on air in February itself at any cost.
The fate of Zee 24 Gantalu and Asianet Telugu news is still in geopardy as they are yet to get license. Though both the channels are claiming to have completed dry runs and are ready for launch once the license issue is solved, the staff say that it is difficult to go on air in February. The two channels - iNews and hmtv , test launched on 1st Jan are trying to remove the words " Test Signal " in the last week of this month.
Mr. Anjaiah from CTV has taken over the reins of Studio N, the channel planned to be launched in february with the main intention of supporting the TDP supremo N. Chandrababu Naidu. There is nothing unusual about it since the chief promoter Mr. narne Srinivasa Rao is a close relative of Babu. Though Mr. Siva ram Prasad has been working hard to bring out the channel, around 80 staff members inducted by him were not given any appointment letters and were indirectly being asked to go away. To protect his team, Mr. OPrasad is said to be bearing all the insults he is being subjected to. The sad part of it is that 3 senior people who resigned their jobs and joined Studio N were asked to go away just because they are the nominees of Mr. Prasad. Now, nobody is showing interest to join the channel, atleast on the invitation of its managing Director Mr. Sivaram Prasad.
Anjaiah, who was with CTV for about 5 years has taken full control of the channel and some of his close friends like Mr. Jayaprasad, Mr. Danny, Mr. Saber Ali are also joining the channel soon. This team's only agenda is to run the channel as a complete TDP channel. Knowing fully well that all these people are pro-TDP, everyone is sure that the promoter's interests are fully taken care of by them. Needless to say that Mr. Sivaram prasad has been sidelined and may be asked to take care of the English Channel, which will never see the light of the day.
Mr. Murthy, Mr. Ramakrishna and Mr. Ramachandra Rao have suddenly changed their strategy and decided to stay back in NTV and brought in Mr. Sastry. When there are two options whether to work under Mr. Satish Babu or go out, they found the other option of bringing in Mr. Sastry and made the management agree to their proposal. It is a great disappointment to the COO who proposed the name of Mr. Satish Babu. But, however, Mr. Satish Babu never tried for NTV since he is very much comfortable with Asianet and hence he is not disappointed.
In Sakshi too things have started settling down coolly. Mr. Bhaskar Nemani is consolidating his position knowing clearly that he is an upstart. Mr. ram Reddy will be heading the channel while Ms. Geetha will confine herself to the creative part of the programming. But the main question continues to haunt the staff and the management. Who is responsible for the Rs. 10 crore fraud in the procurement of equipment ?
Mr. Sastry, Chief of Sakshi TV has resigned this evening. Though it looks like a sudden development, insiders say that the trouble has been brewing up for more than a month. There are too many Heads in the channel and everybody was trying to dethrone the other and gain an upperhand. Disgusted with such developments, Ms. Geetha left the organisation. There are also allegations against some Heads that there was misappropriation of funds in procurement of machinery. Though Mr. Sastry cannot be directly linked to the scam, he is said to be responsible for bringing in a certain group and giving postings of their choice at the cost of others and this led to dissatisfaction among the staff, particularly the district staff reporters. Mr. Nemani Bhaskar, who quit NTV and joined Sakshi TV was given more powers and this is also said to be one of the reasons for Sastry's decision to quit. Observers say that Mr. Jagan could successfully keep the newspaper in the safe hands of Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy but the choice for the channel, Mr. Sai Reddy is a wrong one. There were internal sqabbles from day one but all of them started coming up even before the launch of the channel. News is also that the other Head Mr. Srinivasa Reddy has also resigned. One version says that Mr. Srinivasa Reddy resigned on the day when he was sent to the construction site and Mr. Sastry put in his papers when he was asked to restrict himself to the city bureau. Both the resignations are accepted today.
On the other hand, Mr. Murthy, Mr. Ramachandra Rao and Mr. Ramakrishna have met Mr. Chowdary today to express their dissatisfaction on knowing that Mr. Satish Babu is likely to heat NTV. There are rumours that the trio is joining Sakshi TV. However, there is no confirmation. The dissatisfaction of these three is due to the management's decision to induct Mr. Satish Babu into NTV as its head. Mr. Satish Babu, though is in a comfortable position in Asianet, wants to move to a channel already on air since he doesnt want to sit idle during the hectic election time. At one stage, Mr. Siva Prasad's ( Earlier in NTV as Output Editor and now Executive Editor in Andhra Jyothi's proposed channel ) name was also considered by the management but somehow it didnt work out. Some people say that Mr. Siva Prasad's condition was that the three ( Murthy, Ramachandra and Ramakrishna ) be removed and now that they are likely to quit, he may come back again.
Interestingly, Mr. Nemani Bhaskar who recently left NTV to join Sakshi has started calling all the district reporters over phone to mobilise solidarity for his leadership on one hand and to identify Mr. Sastry's men on the other. The situation is yet to ripen and the journalists are eagerly waiting to know all the minute details. If he is really serious about Mr. Sastry, he may lead a movement for Sastry but the chances are remote. At the end, staff at sakshi started thinking that the management of SakshiTV is not interested in bringing out the channel and as such started sending people out !!!!
Two news channels have been launched on the same day, the New Year day. Its time we compare both of them before comparing with the other news channels.
HMTV started its operations in 2007 and hence it took more than one year to bring out its channel. After spending more than 4 crores on unproductive work so far, the management seemed to have decded to pressurise the staff to being out the channel at any cost even though the staff is not confident. But such hard work is not seen on the screen. May be too many peoples' ambition to be seen on the screen led to this situation. Graphics are very poor, leave alone the fonts and the updation. There is a terrible failure on the inputs front and hence most of the news items are National and International - proving that dependency on the Reuters is more than its own bureau. Coordination among the reporters and the studio is missing. Live is confined to Hyderabad and it is learnt that there are certian issues relating to licensing for using their live vans (DSNGs ). As a viewer, we can see the old age people wearing blazers and trying to look younger. But their thinking is not modern and we can see usage of words like Sikhara Vaarta for Headline News. The average age of staff is more than any other channel in AP. The discussions are very poor. People are more interested in wearing blazers rather than preparing well for the discussions. Those who cannot utter words audibly are also trying to appear on screen at the cost of the management's money. Let us see how far people receive such people's on screen presence.
iNews is in fact a surprise as many were thinking that it might take some more time. Inside information is that only on knowing that hmtv is going for a test run on 1st at 5.17 ( comrade Ramachandramurthy boasts himself of being an ahthiest !!! ), iNews suddenly decided to advance its date from 5th. By evening, everybody started comparing both the channels. While the graphics are impressive, the colours are cool. Some of the promos are interesting and the news bulletins are yet to be aired. Many senior journalists who observed both the channels started rating them and iNews is leading. The sample yearenders and the entertainment programmes showed how perfectly the planning was. The script is also tight and the visual editing is also very apt. Even though it is too early to make comments, the first impression is that iNews is being run on a professional way. The professionalism of the young team is clearly visible in their promos. By the way, the average age of the staff in iNews is considered the lowest in the state, less than 30. Old may be gold but young is platinum.
Jagan started taking over media organisations through his men and NTV is the latest casualty. Earlier Mr. shyam Prasada Reddy became Chairman of Local TV and now Mr. Nimmagadda Prasad, popularly known as Matrix Prasad has invested in NTV. Since the chances of getting license for his Sakshi seems bleak, Jagan wants to have hold in other channels so that he would help his father to win for a second term. Mr. Matrix Prasad and Mr. Shyam Prasad Reddy are Jagan's partners in Indu Projects. The talks with TV5 are inconclusive. With Mr. Chowdary foregoing part of his share to Matrix Prasad, there are tremors in the channel. The 'B' trio may be sent out and there are enough signals according to insiders.
In a surprise development, Ms. Geetha , CEO, Sakshi HDTV resigned on Saturday. It ois interesting to note that she left the organisation just before a month ahead of its purported launch. When the promoters named it as Indira TV way back in 2006 and wanted to bring it out as a General Entertainment Channel with a considerable number of news bulletins apart from entertainment content, she was choosen for the post. When there was inordinate delay in the project, other Heads like Satish Babu and Srinivasa Reddy went back but Ms. Geetha stayed put on the advice of the Chairman Mr. Jagan. She acted as a bridge between the Chairman and the Sakshi newspaper staff until the launch of the Newspaper. She enjoyed reasonable power in Sakshi TV in the early stages but later differences brewed up with Mr. Vijay Sai Reddy and they are it their peak and finally she had to bid goodbye. Known as a creative person in the film and tv circles, she was one of the pillars of Gemini and Teja channels. Sources close to her say that she may might take up an assignment in films.
Mr. GS Rammohan, Output Editor has left hmtv, even before its launch, almost after completion of one year there. Some conspiracy theories are doing the rounds behind his quitting. It is learnt that he met the Managing Director cum CEO cum Editor in Chief of the channel Mr. Murthy and explained the reasons for quitting. However, the exact details of the discussion is yet to be known. Soon after coming out, Mr. Rammohan straightaway went to Andhra Jyothi and joined their channel as its Associate Editor. People close to him confirm that he would be more comfortable with Andhra Jyothi management where he worked for more than 5 years. With Mr. Rammohan's exit, HMTV lost a senior man in the organisation. The loss is considerable since a person in the key post left just a couple of days before its launch (on 12th ?) but the other Heads have put a brave face saying that the launch would be as scheduled. However, news is that the launch will be only in the second half of January ( with an excuse of Dhanurmasam ).
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