Action channel Big RTL Thrill, which was slated to be launched in the first quarter of 2012-13, is ready to take off on November 5. The latest joint venture between the Reliance Broadcast Network (RBNL) and RTL, the European entertainment network, announced plans to launch an action channel in early 2012.
This will be RBNL's seventh channel, including Big CBS Prime, Big CBS Love, Big CBS Spark, Big CBS Spark Punjabi, Big Magic and Bloomberg TV India.
The channel will be launched in Uttar Pradesh and later expanded in a phase-wise manner to tap other Hindi-speaking markets. Subsequently, it will be launched in the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) region, which includes Sri Lanka, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
The reason for choosing the UP market, says the channel, is that it is home to India's largest male population and the country's second largest economic engine, contributing 8.05 per cent of national GDP. The FICCI report shows that the region's advertising market grew by 15 per cent during 2011, faster than the national average, with the strength of local business segments helping to provide some insulation from the current economic slowdown. Residents of the region also demonstrate higher than average income and consumption patterns. This makes Uttar Pradesh an area of great interest for marketers.
Sporting the tagline 'Action Ka Baap' (Ultimate Action Destination), the channel will have international content dubbed in Hindi. Content has been acquired from international production companies such as Fremantle Media, Endemol and Red Bull.
The strong programming line up of Thrill is based on reality shows, action series, wrestling, extreme sports, game shows and movies. The channel has about four to five hours of original content each day, along with international shows such as Fear Factor, Cobra 11, Criss Angel, Wipe Out and Bay Watch. Action movies will also be telecast in dubbed format.
While market experts are positive about the channel, they also feel that digitisation may affect the viewership to some extent. They opine that Thrill will have good sampling since the other channel catering to action-lovers, AXN, is an English channel, and add that distribution will play a very important role. Movies may provide the strongest reason for sampling, say experts.
Andreas Rudas, executive vice-president, regional operations and business development, CEE and Asia, RTL Group, says, "This is an exciting moment for us at RTL Group since it's our first step into the Indian broadcasting market, which offers very promising growth opportunities. We will contribute our long-term broadcasting and programming expertise to Big RTL Thrill with high-quality content targeting a clearly defined audience."
Big RTL Thrill will be distributed as part of RBNL's seven-channel bouquet, including the existing six channels. Big RTL has also tied up with DEN Networks along with MSOs like Digicable, Siticable, Moon Cable, See TV and other independent operators. The channel is prepared for the advance of digitisation and has already teamed up with Reliance Digital TV across India, and is in the process of closing deals with other DTH operators.
The channel will be marketed through a multi-media campaign across television, radio, out of home, on ground, print and digital.