NDTV group has signed affiliated distribution deals with two international broadcasters to distribute their channels in India. Trace is a French company which has launched a sports lifestyle channel called Trace Sports. The other channel is ITV Granada, which is an English general entertainment channel (GEC) owned by a UK-based private production house.
Trace Sports will have content focusing on the lifestyle of sports celebrities, documentaries and interviews with the celebrities, and some sports reality shows. It will also have non-live events like adventure sports (rafting and trekking, among others) and action sports (such as mountain biking and ice skiing).
ITV Granada will compete with English GECs such as AXN, STAR World, Zee Cafe, Zee Trendz and Big CBS, among others. It will have all kinds of content including reality shows, fictions, soaps and talent hunt shows.
Both the channels are encrypted and will be initially available for free for about six months. Jaiswal suggests that for a channel like Trace Sports, which is a niche within niche genre, sampling is very important. This is why the channel was launched for free initially.
Jaiswal adds, "India is surely gearing up for different kinds of sports, even being a cricket-crazy country. I also believe that this segment will grow even further. Moreover, Trace Sports will supplement the sports channels in the country and vice-versa. Thanks to the newer kind of sports being broadcast in the country, there is a particular fan-following that is getting developed, which eventually will be helpful for Trace Sports."
ITV is a private production house and has a large variety of shows in its kitty. Thus, for ITV Granada, too, sampling of its content was important to understand what works best in the country.
Jaiswal further adds, "With a bouquet of many English GECs in the country, it is proved that there is a decent audience for the same. As it is the company is eying a long term investment in the country."
Trace Sports has been launched in Pune and some parts of Mumbai. The network plans to make the channel available pan-India within the next six months. The channel is available on Airtel digital TV, DEN, Hathway, Digicable and ICC Network.
Trace Sports targets sports fans in the age group of 15-35 years. Shows on the channel include Up Close With, In the name of Good, Untold Stories and Sporty News.
ITV Granada targets the normal English GEC audience, which is C&S 25+, All India.