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UTV sets its sights at a Rs 200-crore turnover this fiscal

By , agencyfaqs! | In | June 16, 2004
The company has three thrust areas -- television, movies and broadcasting


There is no stopping content services provider-cum-soon-to-turn-broadcaster UTV. The company is looking to earn a revenue of Rs 200 crore by the end of this fiscal, and it has identified three areas -- television, movies and broadcasting -- to give it the necessary impetus.

The current buzz is centred around Farhan Akhtar's multi-starrer and potential blockbuster Lakshya, scheduled for a June 18 release. This is to be followed up by Ashutosh Gowariker's Swades, starring Shah Rukh Khan, which is scheduled for a September launch. Both the films have been co-produced by UTV.

Ronnie Screwvala, CEO, UTV, says: "Nine other film productions are set to hit the floor between now and 2005. So there is much on our plate."

The action is hotting up on the television front as well. On the cards is the ambitious kids' channel venture Hungama TV, which is to be launched by United Home Entertainment - a company promoted by Ronnie Screwvala and UTV - by August-September this year. The company has entered into a distribution tie-up with STAR India, with the channel to be priced between Rs 4-8 per subscriber.

Rivals Cartoon Network (including Pogo) and Nick, incidentally, are priced between Rs 9-15 and Rs 6-7 respectively, while Animax (promoted by Sony Pictures Entertainment) is looking at a pricing of Rs 6 per subscriber, informs Screwvala, CEO, UTV.

Content on Hungama will be broadly targeted at two segments, the four to eight/nine-year old and older children between nine and fifteen years, with a varied programming mix comprising movies, animation and live-action entertainment. "Movies and animation will be acquired, while live action entertainment projects will be assigned to local external production houses," says Screwvala.

UTV will also be in the reckoning for content creation and production, but will be kept at "a arm's length", says Screwvala. "This is to ensure that the process of selection of production houses is transparent," he says.

Hungama has shortlisted 60 pilots out of 274 programming concepts, which have been included in a research study, conducted by AC Nielsen, to understand the preferences of children on the basis of genre as well as programmes.

The study currently being conducted in eight cities, has a sample size of over 5,000 children, and will be completed by June 16. A final call on what is to be included in the programming schedule will be taken by the end of this week, says Purnendu Bose, COO, Hungama TV.

A dedicated Tamil feed will be launched after the channel goes on air. "The number of hours for this channel will depend on its demand," says Bose. © 2004 agencyfaqs!

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