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Mathrubhumi first HD Malayalam news channel
Mathrubhumi first HD Malayalam news channel and also a first Malayalam HD channel.

One of Kerala’s largest media companies, The Mathrubhumi Printing and Publishing Company ( MPPCL), has finally taken the plunge into television.

It would be launching the first of its four channels on Wednesday, the high-definition Mathrubhumi News, a 24-hour Malayalam news channel, followed by Kappa, a music channel, on February 1. This foray into television, “completes the portfolio (of media businesses) for the group,” reckons Mohan Nair, chief executive officer, Mathrubhumi Television.

Isn’t the 90-year-old company a little late? Nair agrees but says Mathrubhumi News comes with enough to differentiate itself. He points to the fact that it is the first high-definition (HD) news channel and to its ‘neutrality.’ Nevertheless, break-even will take longer, he agrees, because HD costs about 25 per cent more than the Rs 30-odd crore that a standard definition (SD) news channel would have. More important, since the four main cable operators in the state do not have the facility to offer HD, the advertiser will only pay for an SD audience, till digitisation happens. There are no pay revenues since Mathrubhumi News is, like all the others, a free-to-air channel.

The second channel, Kappa, would largely be about music shows in Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi and English, says Nair. “We are reverse-engineering the radio in a TV channel,” he says.

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