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TV Turbulence In Bangladesh..

The decision by Bangladeshi conglomerate Beximco Group to enlist the help of Indian media major NDTV to run Independent TV, a news channel Beximco wants to launch by September, looks like a smart move in a market bracing itself for fierce competition.

Beximco is one of 10 winners of new satellite TV licenses recently handed out by the Bangladeshi government, adding to 12 private channels already on air and ratcheting up competition in a market where few local channels have been able to stake out a distinct positioning.


Most of the new channels won’t be launching until next year, though the new arrivals should drive down ad rates among the most popular local channels, ATN Bangla, Channel i and NTV, and may even squeeze out some smaller ones, which are struggling in the market. 

“Second and third tier channels which launched in recent years will find it hard to survive, as their existing rates are already rock bottom,” notes Ferdousia Bakhtiar, an assistant director at media agency network Mindshare.

Three more this year..
In addition to Independent TV, two other channels are aiming to launch this year: My TV which plans to go on air by February and ATN News, a sister channel to ATN Bangla TV, which is aiming for July.


Bangladesh’s newspaper industry is also facing similar challenges of its own, with three new dailies set to hit newsstands well.

In TV, only Beximco and ATN are planning launching news channels, popular among advertisers. The rest are opting for a more diverse infotainment positioning, with little indication of how they plan to compete against each other. One obvious gap seems to be a specialized entertainment offering.

“There is a gap for a fully-fledged entertainment offering,” Bakhtiar suggests. “Hindi entertainment channels have got a very good viewership across audiences.”
The launch of Independent TV will mark a renewed attempt to crack the vernacular Bengali media market by Beximco, which currently publishes English-language daily newspaper The Independent via its Beximco Media subsidiary, which also manages its IT and internet service provider businesses.

The conglomerate is a major player in Bangladesh, with close ties to the ruling party and a market cap exceeding US$1 billion, constituting more than 5% of the market capitalization of the Dhaka Stock Exchange. It plans to invest more than US$10 million in Independent TV.

Source: asiamediajournal.com
January 21, 2010

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