Big CBS Networks, the joint venture between Reliance Broadcast Network and CBS Studios International, has announced the launch of Big CBS Prime, the first English general entertainment channel from its three channel bouquet.
Big CBS Prime will hit television screens across India in November, post Diwali. The other two channels - Big CBS Spark and Big CBS Love - will be launched in December and February, respectively.
Big CBS Prime will be a paid channel, distributed on digital and analog platforms.
In an event held in Mumbai, nine of the shows that will be aired on Prime were unveiled. The shows have been drawn from CBS' programme library and include fresh seasons of shows such as NCIS, Survivor, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Rachael Ray, Judge Judy, Frasier, The Insider and Entertainment Tonight.
The international shows will be aired almost concurrent to the US broadcast and will target the English entertainment seeking audience in the age group of 18-34 years.
With the launch of Prime and the other two channels in the pipeline, Big CBS Networks has entered into a carriage and placement deal with Digicable, one of the significant players in cable TV distribution in India. As a part of the deal, Digicable will distribute the three channels on its platform.
Digicable reaches out to nine million households, including almost a million digital cable subscribers spread across more than 125 locations in 46 cities and 14 states across India.
The network already has another arrangement with DTH service provider Reliance Big TV. With other tie ups in the offing, it expects to reach 80 per cent of Indian homes soon, says Pande.
On the tie up, Ashutosh, chief operating officer, Big Broadcasting, says, "With digital subscribers increasingly demanding the best English and international content and Big CBS Networks' programming offerings carefully tailored to offer an envious programming line up, coupled with the USP of airing almost concurrent to the US, the alliance works in both companies' business interests."
"Subscribers today are more aware and discerning and seek world class entertainment. The Big CBS channels bring just that to the table. We believe the content will be a huge value addition to our subscribers," adds Jagjit Singh Kohli, managing director and chief executive officer, Digicable Network.
The company projects that the Rs 265.5 billion Indian television market will have 134 million homes with televisions, of which 103 million will have access to cable or satellite television, including DTH. It sees India becoming the world's largest direct to home satellite pay TV market by 2012, overtaking the US with an estimated 35 million subscribers.
Big CBS Networks will extensively use its interests in the Reliance Broadcast Network for promotions, besides the campaign designed by its creative partner, McCann Erickson.