Big CBS Prime, the English general entertainment channel from the stable of Big CBS Networks -- a joint venture between Reliance Broadcast Network Limited and CBS Studios International -- is on-air. The channel began telecasts from November 29 at 8:30 PM.
Tarun Katial, CEO, Reliance Broadcast Network, says, "The launch of Big CBS Prime is the first step towards addressing the current need gaps of Indian viewers for internationally acclaimed quality programming. With the current time lag between the US and India premieres of shows ranging nine months or more and minimal content exclusivity, the appeal of current programmes and networks offering this genre of programmes is limited. As a result of this, English programming as a category is highly underdeveloped. With our exclusive programming mix, Big CBS is uniquely poised to grow the size of this market."
On weekdays, the channel will also have an afternoon band, where fresh content will be aired from 12:30-2 PM. At 12:30 PM, Big CBS Prime will air Judge Judy, followed by an hour of Rachel Ray at 1 PM.
On weekends, the channel will air movies at 8 PM. Also, on Sunday, under the category 'Omnibus', Big CBS Prime will telecast CSI at 1 PM; and the franchises of CSI, such as CSI NY and CSI Miami apart from Entertainment Tonight at 7 PM, for an hour.
According to Aparna Pande, business head, Big CBS Networks, the channel will air the current season of all shows within 24 hours of their telecast in the US. She adds, "As there is a dearth of original local programmes on English GECs, in six months, we will develop local content in English for the Indian audience. We will take the first step by adapting international shows, such as Entertainment Tonight -- which covers news in Hollywood -- to the Indian format, to bring Bollywood news to Indian viewers."
Big CBS Prime will be distributed through DTH platforms such as Big TV and Airtel DTH, and on cable network via Digicable, Den Networks and Hathway, InCable and 7Star. While Big CBS Prime will be available at an a-la-carte rate of Rs 14 in Non-CAS areas and at Rs 4.9 on DTH platforms; Big CBS Spark and Big CBS Love will be available at Rs 11 each in Non- CAS areas and at Rs 3.85 each on DTH platforms. Simultaneously, the channels will be distributed at a bouquet rate of Rs 21.2 in Non-CAS areas. The commercial rates of the channels have been fixed at Rs 50 for Big CBS Prime and Rs 30 each for Big CBS Spark and Big CBS Love.
Ashutosh, COO, Reliance Big Broadcasting, divulges that the network is in advanced conversations with various DTH operators, and the channel will be available on the remaining DTH platforms very soon. He adds, "The channel will not carry advertising in the first week; ads will start from the second week."
On the launch of Big CBS Spark and Big CBS Love, Ashutosh says, "While Big CBS Spark will be a youth channel, Love will be about love. We will first wait for the Big CBS Prime brand to establish in the market, and will launch the other two channels together after a month or two."