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Aaj Tak English channel may launch in 10 days
 
Indiantelevision.com Team

(24 February 2003 2:00 pm)
 
NEW DELHI: TV Today Network, part of The India Today Group, is all set to launch its English channel over the next 10 days, even as last week it roped in Alok Verma, a senior television professional, as executive producer.
 
 
"We don't want to create a hype and hoopla about it, but it (the channel launch) can happen very soon, maybe over the next seven to ten days. It can also happen much before a 10-day period," a source in Aaj Tak informed indiantelevision.com.

The company has been testing the signals, off an INSAT satellite, for quite some time now.

However, the name of the channel is being kept a secret.

It seems that the endeavour is that with the Budget, slated to be presented in Parliament on February 28, a soft launch of the channel is done. But some technical aspects are still to be smoothened.

TV Today Network has been the target of maximum poaching with quite a few top notch anchors, reporters and news producers leaving for rival organisations like NDTV and Star.

In a bid to beef up its act, the company is getting on board new recruits at all levels, including Verma who joined them formally this week.

Verma as the executive producer, along with senior people like Uday Shankar (the No. 2 at TV Today after chief executive G Krishnan), will be responsible for editorial and production aspects of both the channels.

A former print medium journalist, Verma moved on to the electronic medium early and has worked with Zee News, during its better days in the late 1990s, and has also done a stint with Star India at the company's Bangalore-based interactive TV division, amongst other media assignments.

TV Today Network, not part of any bouquet, does not want to take a chance with the distribution angle of the proposed English channel and is leaving no stones unturned to see that the boxes meant for the digital free to air channel is fairly well seeded in the market.

Will the Hindi Aaj Tak go pay simultaneously with the launch of the English channel? A question difficult to answer at this point of time. Industry sources indicate with the government pushing aggressively ahead with conditional access implementation, Aaj Tak or its soon-to-be-on-air sibling doesn't want to get caught in the transition hiccups. That means, Aaj Tak may remain free to air for some more time.
 
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