Staff Reporter

`It is the first channel solely based on viewers' choice'

Subscription fee is Rs. 180 a year for the packageIt has procured rights to telecast 31 films including "Jogi"Plans for Malayalam and Tamil channels

Bangalore: Zee Telefilms Ltd. will launch its 27th channel, Zee Kannada Kannadigara Kanmani on Thursday.

"It is the first channel solely based on viewers' choice. Zee Kannada is a model 24-hour channel unlike the other Kannada language channels," claimed Ajay Kumar, business head, Zee South Channels.

Speaking to presspersons here on Wednesday, he said that the southern region had always been a priority for Zee Telefilms Ltd.

"The launch of the new channel is in continuance of our Zee South initiative. This is the first channel to have programmes that are fine tuned as per viewers' feedback," he said.

He said that the public was informed about the channel through an interactive campaign a month ahead of its launch.

"The channel is a tribute to the Kannadigas as it has been put together by Kannadigas. We collected viewer preferences from seven lakh homes across the State through direct consumer contact programmes. This has helped us gain complete understanding of the needs and aspirations of the television viewers in the State," he said.

Mr. Kumar said that Zee Kannada had two serials for the viewers of coastal and north Karnataka regions.

"Zee Kannada is a pay channel. People will have to pay Rs. 180 a year for the package. The market size, in terms of viewers, is estimated to be around six million homes, and the advertisement revenue is approximately Rs. 15 crore a month," he said.

Mr. Kumar said that Zee Kannada would work closely with the Kannada film industry. He said that the channel had procured the rights to telecast 31 films, including "Jogi".

"The channel was ready for launch in April. But we had to postpone the launch because of the death of Rajkumar," he said.

Punit Goenka, director, Zee Telefilms Ltd., said that Zee network was coming down south after "14 successful years in the north".

"We started with the Telugu channel. We will celebrate the first year anniversary this month. We will soon announce plans for the Malayalam market and later for the Tamil market.

"We have planned a four-step entry into the southern market," he said.

Venkat Giridhar, business head, Zee Kannada, was present.