BBC World Service hitches a ride with Big FM

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | December 10, 2009
Big FM will air two programming capsules - Big BBC Minute and Big BBC Mulaqat - produced by BBC Worldwide Service, on its 32 radio stations

BBC World Service and Big FM have entered into an alliance, according to which BBC's entertainment updates will now be available on all 32 Big FM radio stations across the country.

Beginning this week, Big BBC Minute, an hourly entertainment segment, will be broadcast on the Big FM network everyday, from 8 am to 8 pm. The second programming capsule, Big BBC Mulaqat, a celebrity talk show, will air on Saturdays as part of Breakfast Show (7 am to 12 noon) on all the Big FM radio stations.

& #BANNER1 & #The third programme, a weekly entertainment film preview show by BBC, is yet to be launched.

For close to three years, the entertainment capsules produced by BBC World Service aired on Radio One, a joint venture (JV) between Mid-Day Multimedia and BBC Worldwide.

Speaking to afaqs!, Indushekar Sinha, business development manager, BBC World Service India, says, "Our content on Big FM will maximise our reach, as it is one of the biggest radio networks with the maximum number of radio stations. Earlier, we were commissioned by BBC Worldwide to do programming for Radio One, and now, the change is only in terms of moving to another radio operator."

Without disclosing the revenue model to be followed by BBC World Service and Big FM for the content on air, Sinha observes, "In the past, it was the JV between BBC Worldwide and Radio One that took care of the funding. This time too, the model will be the same, with our content being paid."

To begin with, BBC Worldwide is not tinkering with the content of the special capsules, as it wants to first test the markets; subsequently, it will make changes if necessary, in line with listeners' preferences.

Bringing out the relevance and significance of the programming tie-up with BBC World Service, Tarun Katial, chief executive officer, Big FM, explains, "Bollywood, without doubt, is the bedrock of entertainment content in India. So, the deeper content from BBC World Service will keep us ahead of others by strengthening our reach."

He adds, "BBC programming will surely contribute in making us a preferred brand amongst our customers, helping us build related commercial opportunity."

In an official communiqué, Neil Curry, head business development (Asia Pacific), BBC World Service, states, "Our partnership with Big FM takes our position in the market to a new level, as BBC World Service programming will be accessible in several Indian states and cities for the first time ever. With Big FM's wide reach, audiences across all demographics will be able to enjoy our radio programming."

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