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An event organized by the Press Club of Mumbai to felicitate the media pioneer having competed 20 years of private satellite broadcasting in India.

चैनल तो बढ़ेंगे ही, प्रिन्ट मीडिया में भी निश्चित तौर पर आयेगा तगड़ा उछाल

Mumbai/Chairman of Essel Group and ZEEL Subhash Chandra said on Wednesday that satellite television industry in India could grow three times its current size to Rs.1,50,000 crore turnover per annum by the year 2020 and convergence of various media was certain to happen in India.

Taking stock of the growth of satellite television industry in India Mr.Chandra spoke candidly about his experiences in the industry, the challenges he faced and probable future of media in India. “Nobody predicted that this industry could really survive and grow at the rate that we have seen in this country. We were the first ones to launch a 24 hour general entertainment channel in 1992. Today India has over 800 private TV channels telecast in the country out of which over 600 are of Indian origin”, Mr.Chandra recounted.

Mr.Chandra was speaking at an event organized by the Press Club of Mumbai to felicitate the media pioneer having competed 20 years of private satellite broadcasting in India. Zee group launched the first private satellite channel in the country in October 1992. Senior Columnist Bachi Karkaria, Editor of CNBC-Awaaz Sanjay Pugaliya, president of the Press Club, Gurbir Singh, and Chairman of the club, Prakash Akolkar, participated in a discussion on: ‘Media at the crossroads’ with Mr.Chandra on the occasion.

Welcoming him to the Press Club, the president, Gurbir Singh, recounted Subhash Chandra’s small beginnings in 1992 when he launched Zee TV on transponder space hired from the Hong-Kong based Richard Li’s STAR. Today, his network had grown to 31 channels, and was a leader in DTH through the satellite service Dish TV. He was felicitated by the senior journalists who presented Chandra with a shawl and a memento.

Speaking of his alliance and confrontation with Newscorp chairman Rupert Murdoch, Chandra recounted how in the 1990s, he had made a proposal to jointly begin DTH services in India. However, the Australian media baron brushed aside Chandra with a dirty look. “Murdoch told me that DTH is my area and not to interfere in it. However, I shot back and told him: That may be so, but it is my country,” Chandra recounted.

Asked by the panelist about the survival of news channels which are facing tough financial challenges Mr.Chandra said “There are too many players in this space. A state like Andhra Pradesh has 25 news channels. How can they survive? But still they pull on because many channels have been launched with political or other motives and it does not matter to the owners even if they lose money every year.”

Speaking about a recent controversy involving charges aganist two of his senior editorial team members from Zee group Mr.Chandra said “We have seen many instances of people trying to bribe journalists. This case was similar. Some people involved in the coal mine scam tried to bribe us. We took a stand that we will not stop the coverage of the scam. The affected party tried to bribe out Editors. Our editors tried to get into a written contract with them about the deal so that there could be proof of them trying to give us an amount.”

Commenting about the future of media in India Mr. Chandra said “I can say for sure that print media will survive and grow in this country for 10-15 years and the convergence of various media is a certainty”. The event was attended by a large number of journalists from Mumbai and Thane. 



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