BBC Entertainment all set for a revamp in January 2011

By Anushree Bhattacharyya , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | December 17, 2010
BBC Entertainment gets serious with a new positioning, 'Seriously Entertaining', and a revamp in programming.

Come January 2011 and BBC Entertainment will don a new look. This includes new programmes for the Indian audience, a new positioning - 'Seriously Entertaining' -- and a new distribution plan.

Deepak Shourie, director, BBC Worldwide Channels, South Asia, tells afaqs!, "The Indian television market is now more vibrant, be it Hindi, regional or English. The English GEC market, which is a $200 million market, is growing. Hence, we feel this is the right time for the re-launch."

Currently, most English GECs telecast American shows. Thus, BBC Entertainment feels that its USP lies in the fact that it brings British television to Indian homes. According to Shourie, the channel will air content that viewers in India have not seen so far; since in the case of other English GECs, it's mostly shows created in America by American studios for American viewers, which are further telecast in India, as part of various content output deals.

BBC Entertainment claims that it has designed programmes keeping in mind the TV viewing habits of the audience at different times the day, which will definitely be a key factor in driving the sampling of the channel.

Shourie explains, "We designed the programming, keeping in mind who is watching television, at what time and what is the mood of the viewer. For example, in the morning, one really cannot expect the viewer to spend time watching the channel, as it's generally a busy household scenario with everyone getting ready for work. Therefore, from 6 AM to 11 AM, programmes like Colin and Justin's Home Heist, Coconut Coast and Trish's French Country Kitchen will be aired."

He adds that from 11 AM to 7 PM, when women and kids are most likely to watch television, programmes such as Gok's Fashion Fix, Don't Tell the Bride, My Family and Antiques Roadshow will be aired. Similarly, in the evening -- from 7 PM to 10 PM - which is prime time for family viewing, shows such as Bruce Parry, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Doctor Who, Monarchy: The Royal Family at Work and BBC Earth will be shown.

"Late night is about personal viewing; so, we will show programmes like Top Gear, Spooks, Luther, Undercover Boss and London Live," Shourie states.

Launched in 2007, BBC Entertainment was so far available only on the direct-to-home platform (DTH), Tata Sky. Furthermore, for the last three years, the channel has had no advertising. With the revamp, it is looking at beefing up its distribution and bringing advertisers on board.

Shourie adds that the company, at the time of launch, did not plan for distributing the channel on various platforms. "We have recognised the need for distribution now. Hence, we will make the channel available in the eight metros and selected mini-metros in the next three months. As for advertisers, we are in talks with some of the premium category brands and advertising will start running from next month onwards."

According to published reports, revenue for BBC's channels across Asia has grown by 70.4 per cent to £1.4 million last year. At present, BBC Worldwide Channels' revenue is £39.2 million.

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