A first of its kind, 10TV a Telugu news channel, is a cooperative venture that hopes to help make voices heard and bring forth public issues.
How good would it be if people came together to start a television channel in a bid to voice their concerns for society? This exactly how 10TV, a Telugu news channel began in December last year. Incidentally, it also became the first Telugu channel to be launched as a cooperative venture, which is funded by the people.
Talking about the business idea, K Venu Gopal, managing director of the news channel says, “We, trade unions, are campaigning against the policies that are affecting people. Our arguments don’t find a place in the many existing news channels. Add to that, liberalisation has put basic needs like health, education and employment in private hands, making them unaffordable for the common man. This is a serious concern for society and these issues drove us to launch a channel in collaboration with different trade unions.
“However, it is very difficult for just trade unions to start a TV channel. It can only be done in democratic way by bringing different people and making them a part of the campaign. When we approached people with our business idea we received a lot of positive response from employees of various industries, both in private and public sectors. The project gained momentum when there was a huge response from Anganwadi workers, who contributed as less as `500 as an investment to initiate the channel. In a way, a huge number of people from base level workers to top-level employees came forward to start this channel.”
The idea, which started in April, started taking shape in July last year. The directors were appointed on behalf of people to work towards the interests of the investors. They do not take any monetary benefits from the news channel.
When asked about the number of investors in the company, he says, “No matter what the number is there will always be a few people who will think that the figure is either too high or too low. There are a lot of people, from different sections of society, who have come together to launch this channel. Our foundation itself is laid on 10 moral and societal principles.”
The channel is primarily aiming to work on ethos and not on cheap marketing gimmicks and entertainment tactics, especially in a world where advertising revenues are generated based on TRP ratings on a channel and its shows. And in such an environment, 10TV has a lot of hurdles to overcome.
“There are some news channels in the country, which run on principles and eventually become financially successful. What we want to do is, give a voice to the people and all the political parties without passing judgement. The channel is going to present the truth and it is for the people to draw their own conclusions,” says Venu.
The CEO of the channel, Arun Sagar chips in, “The presentation and narration on our channel will rope in viewers to watch even things that are of public interest. For instance, we started a Bakasura programme, where our presenter goes to real locations, where the land is being encroached by political leaders, in the Bakasura attire and discuss the topic. This conveys the truth in a creative way.”
Talking about the expectations of the people (investors) from the channel, Venu says, “Our investors are not looking for monetary benefits, instead we look forward to making ourselves be heard and work towards a better society. Even if we pay a five per cent dividend for a `500 investor, the number will not appear that big. It is not the money but the intention behind that contribution. And this should not be ignored in taking this channel forward.”
The channel, which invested more than `30 crore, is looking for an operational breakeven in two years. It is in the phase of making its distribution strong to reach across every nook and corner of the State.