Niche channels seem to be the order of the day with media majors Star, Sony and Zee dominating the general entertainment channel category. Foreign broadcasting companies like E!, History Channel and Alive Networks as well as smaller domestic players are hence coming in packaged as channels with specialised programming, part of their entry strategy.
US-based entertainment major E! and Hong Kong-based Alive Networks are scouting for joint venture partners in India to set up their niche channels. While E! has plans to launch a niche entertainment channel, Alive Networks will be launching a travel and education channel by mid-2001. UK-based History Channel is also working on its launch strategy.
Nimbus Communications will launch Showbiz TV in the coming months, a channel which will focus on movies, television news, music, fashion and sports personalities. Following suit is ETC Networks, which is setting up a “different” music channel to be christened ‘Strip’.
Content companies are jumping onto the channel bandwagon as costs for setting up a channel have decreased considerably. Industry sources estimate technical costs of setting up a channel at US $0.5 million, as compared to US $1.5 million six months back.