It would be almost a year now since National Geographic Channel (NGC) India has been working towards strengthening the Fox brand name in India. Now with the legal requisites cleared for the Fox channel brands, FX, Fox Crime and Baby TV, the three channels would launch in India in the next two to four weeks.
Nikhil Mirchandani, MD, NGC Network – South Asia, said, “The three channels are in different genres, and also focus on different kinds of target audiences. In the case of Baby TV, even the model is different since the revenues are dependent on subscription and not on advertising.”
While FX is a male-skewed channel that would house “risqué, irreverent content”, Fox Crime, as the name suggests, focuses on the crime genre. The programming mix of both the channels would consist of properties that are already popular in India, such as CSI and JAG in addition to new shows. Mirchandani explained, “The idea is to get shows that audiences in India are familiar with, so you get the imagery of the channel. The driver shows would be first run, top-of-the-line properties.”
Mirchandani also spoke on The History Channel’s changed programming strategy after the channel was rechristened Fox History last year. Mirchandani said, “We now have 10 to 12 weeks of data, which shows that the programming of the channel has paid off. The viewership has gone up thrice in our core TG.”
Fox History had seen significant changes in the content line-up, where the channel even aired movies such as ‘Rang de Basanti’, ‘Mangal Panday’ and would air ‘Bhagat Singh’. The channel said that the objective was to be more local and more entertaining. The channel also invested on acquiring “factual” content in the genres of war, crime, terror and sports. “The slowdown was in fact the right time to invest, and we went ahead and made the necessary moves. The upside is that the advertisers have also looked at it positively and Fox History is now a part of media plans that it was not earlier. All our efforts are now to see how we can monetise this.”
But doesn’t the airing of Hindi movies blur the content proposition of Fox History? Mirchandani stated, “We are the only channel in the history space, and we own that genre. If you can have other history stories told by movies, then why not the stories from India?”
According to Mirchandani, not only has the channel managed to get more revenues from the same advertisers for Fox History now but has also managed to rope in new ones such as Idea, Fiat, Sony TV, MRF and Mahindra & Mahindra amongst others.