ABP News Network (ANN) is set to re-enter the Punjab market more than five years after it dropped plans to launch a Punjabi news channel. The BBC Worldwide is also bringing back Cbeebies after shutting it down more than six years back due to high carriage fee.
With the cable TV digitisation more or less done and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) levelling the field by introducing the new regulatory framework, the broadcasters are feeling emboldened to revive their shelved plans.
The ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) has granted TV channel licences to Punjabi news channel ABP Sanjha and Cbeebies, BBC Worldwide’s popular pre-school kids channel.
The Cbeebies licence has been granted to BBC Global News India. Currently, BBC Global News India operates just one channel BBC News.
Cbeebies is a non-news downlinking only licence while ABP Sanjha is a news uplinking/downlinking licence in Punjabi and other Indian languages.
Cbeebies was shut down in November 2012 after being in the market for almost five years. Along with Cbeebies, BBC Entertainment was also shut down.
At the time of discontinuing BBC Entertainment and Cbeebies, BBC Worldwide had issued a statement stating, “India is a dynamic and fast-growing media market but remains uniquely challenging for pay-TV channels. Specifically, delays in digitisation and the need for channel operators to pay cable platforms for carriage makes the economics of running channels challenging at this time.”
ANN was planning to launch ABP Sanjha in 2015, however, the channel folded up even before it saw the light of the day due to its inability to get distribution on Punjab’s leading multi system operator (MSO) Fastway Transmission.
Since then, ABP Sanjha has been operating as a digital news channel by uploading content on YouTube and its official website. ABP Sanjha was launched in Canada in July 2018 in partnership with Canada-based Parvasi Media Group.
ANN had received four new TV channel licences from the MIB in February. The company has received uplinking and downlinking licences under the names ABP Andhra, ABP Ganga, ABP Kannada, and ABP Tamil. One of the licences could be used to launch an Uttar Pradesh centric news channel.
As reported earlier by TelevisionPost.com, news broadcaster ANN’s net profit for the fiscal ended 31st March 2018 has gone up 61% due to a strong performance by Hindi and Bengali news channels ABP News and ABP Ananda.
The company’s net profit has jumped to Rs 48.99 crore in FY18 from Rs 30.36 crore in the year ago period. The profit before interest lease depreciation and tax (PBILDT) was up at Rs 95.56 crore from Rs 79.77 crore.