India is gearing up to launch a new national news channel with a distinctly regional focus.
The Times Now television channel will be launched in early March.
Times Now is an online service for Indian news consumers that aims to provide more accurate and comprehensive news in Hindi.
It will be based on Times Media Group’s network of local newspapers, which are widely seen as having an impact on India’s regional identities.
The new channel will also have news reports and analysis from India’s top media institutions.
Times Now will be managed by the Times Group’s India unit, which will include its editorial and digital properties.
The channel will have a new CEO in a few months, said Times Now chairman Prashant Jain.
Times News Network, which runs the Times Now news website, will continue to be run by the group, he added.
“The Times News channel will help bring India’s national media and cultural institutions together,” Jain said.
“We are confident that Times Now will help India achieve its national media objectives.”
Times Now has launched in India in 2014.
Jain said the Times News network will focus on covering India’s biggest news events, including the 2017 Lok Sabha elections and the 2017 Indian football World Cup, which were held on the same day.
The channel’s new CEO, Ramesh Tandon, said that he will continue working in Times Now as a news editor.
Times Media will be expanding its news operations in India to include regional news, and will be creating a new media unit to run it, Tandon said.
Times News Network will be a joint venture between Times Group and Bajaj Communications, he said.
Bajaj will develop and manage the new channel and will work with Times News to expand coverage of India’s media and culture, Tondon said.
Times Group is a major shareholder in Bajj, according to its 2016 annual report.
The company also has a minority stake in Times News, he noted.
TimesNews Network will have content from India-based news publishers including Times of India, The Times of London, The Hindu, The Telegraph, The New Indian Express, and The Times Today.
The new Times Now platform will be the latest effort to break into the Indian market, which has seen a steady increase in its daily news consumption and digital-native news consumption, said Pankaj Gupta, a digital strategist at digital advertising company DSP Global.
The move to launch Times Now on the Times of Now platform follows similar moves by the Indian news network Bharti Airtel and the Indian-language channel Star News.
TimesNews, meanwhile, has been working with Times of Mumbai to bring local news to the channel, Gupta said.