Sri Adhikari Brothers, which recently concluded a public issue for its 100% subsidiary, Broadcast Initiatives (BIL), is all set to launch the first Bhojpuri TV Channel, in the fourth quarter of 2007. Bhojpuri is currently a high-growth regional market, and BIL hopes to duplicate the huge success of Bhojpuri cinema in the television arena.

"Bhojpuri market is developing, as a very strong regional market and the enormous success of the Bhojpuri cinema can be duplicated in the television arena through a concentrated effort in specialised content for that market." said Markand Adhikari, Vice Chairman and MD.

"The group is known for many media initiatives in the past and with regional markets growing at a rapid pace accounting, for more than 24% of the total Television advertising pie there is a concentrated effort by the group to target these markets by launching the Bhojpuri channel and an already launched Marathi entertainment channel Mi Marathi." Adhikari says.

Sri Adhikari Brothers, earlier this month issued foreign currency convertible bonds aggregating $7 million, with a greenshoe option of $3 million. The funds raised will be invested for expansion. The company plans to build a state-of-the-art television studio in the next one year, and is in the process of acquiring land in Mumbai.

The Bhojpuri market received a boost in 2006 with 76 films produced in that year alone, a 100% increase over 2005. They also account for 7% of the number of films produced, marginally behind Malayalam and Kannada, according to the Central Board of Film Certification data.

The demand for Bhojpuri content is not restricted to eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, but goes much beyond to cities like Mumbai, which have a large number of migrants. The films are doing well in Jallandhar, Ludhiana, Panipat, Kurukshetra, Noida and Gurgaon, which have a sizeable population of the migrant labour from Bihar. There is an estimated 40 lakh Bhojpuri-speaking people in Mumbai, 18 lakh in Punjab and about 8 lakh in Delhi. Bengal and Nepal are also emerging as the next big markets.

Most of the other regional markets today have at a choice of about 6-7 regional language channels. BIL has two channels, a news and current affairs channel Janmat and the Marathi general entertainment channel Mi Marathi.