Sony Entertainment Television (SET) India has decided to form a third front to rival Star and Zee by building up a bouquet of 8-10 channels for a pay-per-view package through alliances with various TV channels. With the pay package launch, flagship channel Sony will get converted into a digital pay channel from the existing free-to-air channel on analogue mode.
The areas which SET India is looking at—for forming alliances with channels—include those of news and current affairs, sports, music and for kids. Sony is still in negotiations to bring in India the Disney channel a kids channel which is being wooed by News Corp/Star TV too.
At present, SET is the local ad sales and distribution representative for CNBC India, in which Sony has a 20 per cent stake. Its stable has SET Max and AXN, apart from the flagship Sony channel. Though channel refused to name channels with which talks have been initiated or alliances are likely, cable and satellite industry sources indicated stand-alone channels like Hindi news channel Aaj Tak, European music channel MCM and even DD Sports to be the probable alliance partners.
Buoyed by the rousing reception that Govinda-hosted gameshow Jeto Chappad Phar Ke has received, SET India will be spending nearly Rs 200 crore in fresh programming alone during the financial year 2001-2 beginning April 1.
SET India expects Rs 600 crore in revenues for the current financial year to fall short by 7 to 10 per cent of the projections.