MATV is planning to launch a Punjabi infotainment channel in the new year, according to a source close to BizAsia.co.uk.

Rumours of a second channel from MATV have been circulating for months and these were fuelled further by an announcement on a show on Tuesday, last week.

Presenter of ‘Saanjh Dilaan Di’, Harjap Bhangal, Director of London Immigration and a popular UK immigration lawyer told viewers on his programme that a new channel was in the planning stages targeting the Punjabi community.

When contacted, Harjap Bhangal said, “It is true that MATV and myself are in talks about beginning a new Punjabi TV channel on the Sky platform, however at this stage nothing is finalised. We feel there is a room in the UK and Europe for a 24 hour Punjabi channel which deals with UK issues and local community issues. The current channels either play songs repeatedly or do not have content suitable for the UK and Europe viewers. Our channel intends to be a mix of programmes, serials, live shows and music based programming. We intend to learn from the mistakes of others and provide a top service. We also intend to concentrate on religious and community issues. However things are at an early stage yet.

I have been approached in the past by various companies who wanted me to invest in their channels however the thing which impresses me about the MATV group is firstly the ability to survive hardships and secondly their ability to corner the Punjabi market at the current time.”

Indeed MATV has over the past six months managed to capture a large share in the Punjabi live show market. At the beginning of this year, MATV had only one live Punjabi show – ‘Bhangal’s Legal Solutions’ and comparatively now boasts of at least three hours of live shows everyday for the Punjabi speaking community.

There are also rumours that Punjabi shows from MATV will be shifted to the new channel to make MATV an all Hindi entertainment channel. Also rumours suggest that the broadcaster is in talks with numerous Punjabi channels in India including PTC Punjabi for content sharing.

MATV is likely to hold a viewers poll to finalise the name of the new channel.

The new channel is expected to launch in January 2009 subject to EPG space on Sky Digital. One thing is for sure, the new channel will broadcast free-to-air like its sister station MATV.

Keep it with BizAsia.co.uk for more.