afaqs! news bureau

9XM to be re-launched in the UK

Over two years ago, when the channel first launched its feed in the UK, it had to withdraw unceremoniously as the parent company changed hands.

After two consecutive domestic launches in 2011, the 9X Media Group is all set to launch its music channel, 9XM, in the UK. The free-to-air channel will be available on Sky Digital. It aims to target the Indian diaspora in the UK.

There are no plans to change the programming or the format of the shows. Music will be delivered through the routine line-up, with the animated characters Bade-Chhote from the show Bakwaas Band Kar, Bheegi Billi and Ullu Da Patha. Other shows like Bollywood XTRA Large will also be a part of the programming mix.

9XM to be re-launched in the UK
Punit Pandey, senior vice-president and business head, 9X Media, says, "The launch of 9XM in the United Kingdom is a part of 9X Media's aggressive growth plans to expand the reach of our flagship channel across the globe. After this launch, we have planned a couple of more launches in the domestic market; one of them may come around the end of this month.

"Bollywood music today has fans across the globe. It's no longer just Indians consuming Bollywood music but we also see Hollywood stars wanting to be a part of this growing industry. We are pleased to announce that the best and the latest Bollywood music can now be enjoyed in the UK on 9XM."

The 9X Media Group had stepped into the UK market two years ago. However, it had to withdraw its foot as the company was under crisis because its sister channel, 9X closed down and its parent company INX Media changed hands. During this time, the channel's Sky EPG slot was bought over by Colors. Now, the channel is again set to be launched in the UK on February 14. All this while, the media group was trying to strengthen its hold in the domestic market.

"There were strategic reasons for the withdrawal and we believe the re-launch will be a bit easier because the people already know what we can offer. The mix of comedy and humour is not new to them since they have experienced 9XM before," says Pandey.

The shows will be aired on UK timings. Also, there will be a blend of shows and characters from the domestic channels of the media group. The channel has sought for advertisers in the UK and states that there was a positive response from many of them. "We have shown our channel to the music companies, advertisers and other people in the industry. We have got positive responses from almost all of them and once the channel is on air, we will plan to take advertisers on board. The marketing of the channel is in place," adds Pandey.

For the record, 9XM also streams its content live on the channel's website, and across various mobile TV platforms.

Last year, the media group launched 9X Tashan and 9X Jhakaas for the Punjabi and Marathi market, respectively.

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