Sony gets bullish on India

By , agencyfaqs! | In Advertising | February 02, 2001
Sony Entertainment Television has decided to launch a bouquet of eight-10 channels for a pay-per-view package

agencyfaqs! News Bureau

Sony Entertainment Television (SET) India has decided to launch a bouquet of eight-10 channels for a pay-per-view package through alliances with various TV channels. With the pay package launch, flagship channel Sony will get converted into a digital pay channel from the existing free-to-air channel on the analogue mode.

To make our pay bouquet attractive, the company is working on a strategy to have alliances with various non-Star and non-Zee channels, SET India chief executive Kunal Dasgupta told a business daily. According to Dasgupta, the bouquet of eight-10 channels would be ready for launch
by the end of this year.

SET is looking at four key areas to forge alliances with other channels -news and current affairs, sports, music and kids. Sony is in negotiations to bring the Disney channel to India, which is being wooed by News Corp/Star TV too. Currently, SET is the local ad sales and distribution representative for CNBC India, in which Sony has a 20 per cent stake. Its stable has SET Max and AXN, apart from the flagship Sony channel.

Though Dasgupta refused to name channels with which talks have been initiated, cable and satellite industry sources indicated stand-alone channels like Hindi news channel Aaj Tak, European music channel MCM and even DD Sports to be the probable alliance partners. Both Aaj Tak and DD Sports have been facing distribution problems and are jostled around by cable operators much to viewers chagrin.

It appears that the move to convert Sony into a digital pay channel, together with the launch of a bouquet of pay channels is part of a bigger strategy to tap an alternate source of revenue (apart from advertising revenue) through subscription. In this scheme cable operators pay the various channel managers a certain amount of money on a per-cable-home-per-month basis.

Buoyed by the tremendous response that Govinda-hosted gameshow Jeto Chappad Phar Ke has received, SET India will also be spending nearly Rs 200 crore in fresh programming alone during the financial year 2001-2. However, Sony officials admitted that its targeted revenue might drop a bit in the current fiscal because of KBC. SET India expects Rs 600 crore in revenues for the current financial year to fall short of its projections by 7 to 10 per cent.

© 2001 agencyfaqs!