Viacom18's Comedy Central to launch on January 23

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | January 18, 2012
While the programming line-up will include 15-20 per cent content commissioned from Comedy Central, the rest is acquired content.

Soon after the launch of Sonic, its fifth channel in India, Viacom18 is now ready to expand its portfolio of brands in India with the launch of its sixth channel, Comedy Central.

As the name suggests, the 24-hour paid channel will specialise in the comedy genre and will serve the English entertainment category across the seven metros in the C&S15 + segment.

Ferzad Palia

Comedy Central, with its philosophy of 'Laugh It Off', will launch on January 23, 2012, with approximately 17 shows and five hours of original programming. To be distributed by Sun18, the channel will be available to 20 million households, across analog, digital cable, and DTH.

While the programming line-up will include 15-20 per cent content commissioned from Comedy Central, the rest will be acquired content. However, once the channel finds its feet amongst the audiences, Viacom18 plans to infuse local English content on the channel as well.

Speaking to afaqs!, Ferzad Palia, senior vice-president and general manager, English entertainment, Viacom 18 Media, says, "There is a great deal of English talent in this country, which has no exclusive platform for exposure. We intend to groom such local talent, and offer them a platform through Comedy Central."

Bob Bakish, president and CEO, Viacom International Media Networks, adds, "Comedy Central is one of Viacom's most distinct and successful franchises, globally. We feel that the time is now right for Viacom18 to introduce Comedy Central in India, given the growth curve of the Indian television entertainment market."

A massive through-the-line marketing plan with innovations across TV, print, outdoor, radio, below the line, and digital is expected to be rolled out in the first week of February. The plan will also involve strategic partnerships with lifestyle touch points that the target audience frequents like coffee chains, theatres, clubs, gyms, salons, and shopping destinations. The brand will also extend itself beyond television into LIVE events, merchandising, and availability on mobile platforms.

For the record, since late 2006, Comedy Central has expanded globally with localised channels in Poland, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy, Hungary, Sweden, Ireland, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Israel, and Spain.

BBH India is the creative agency for the channel, while Vizeum is its media partner.

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