As part of its strategy to focus on non-news business and build a cohesive brand with its news channel, BBC is meeting Star TV in London next week to discuss on the shows it can license for exploitation in the Indian market.
BBC Worldwide is also talking with Doordarshan and regional channels, including Tara to get Noddy, into the country this year. The animation work, sourced from Canada, will be ready within two months.
In line with this thinking, Monisha Shah has been appointed director of BBC Worldwide India and will now join representatives of BBC World on the board to formulate and implement BBC Worldwide’s strategy for India across both news and non-news activities. She earlier served BBC Worldwide as territory manager for South Asia.
BBC Worldwide has obtained rights to television programming, books and merchandising of Noddy for South Asia. “We are preferring regional channels as we want to go out to a wider audience. We want a presence in the different markets of the country, apart from the Hindi belt. We don’t want BBC to be known just as a middle-class English or Hindi brand,” said Ms Shah.
The focus will be on local language programming of non-news products rather than export of the BBC-owned shows. BBC hopes to give Star TV two shows, one by Diwali and the other by early next year. It has comedies, game shows, sitcoms and long-running dramas to offer. BBC aims to finalise the contract by the month-end. Star TV has already obtained the licence for Ji Mantriji, the Hindi version of Yes Minister.
Though BBC Worldwide has not substantial profits in Teletubbies and Ji Mantriji, it plans to get in more of its entertainment products. It will be focussing to build the brand in non-news business. Teletubbies has worked wonderfully for BBC.