Broadcast24 will soon add a dedicated sports news channel to its kitty. Christened, Sports24, the new channel will sport a youthful look and feel.
Commenting on the new channel, Anurradha Prasad, MD, BAG Films, said, “The requirement is of dedicated sports news 24x7. Only 30-40 per cent of the content on news channels right now is on sports, whereas we will offer the audience sports news content as it happens all the time. Several channels create sports content, but by sheer focus on sports news, sport analysis, talks with experts and sport stars, ours will be a one of a kind sports news channel that we believe is much required amongst our audiences at the moment.”
Prasad further said, “It will present sports in the zestful manner that sport content deserves. Detailed coverage and analysis by experts in various sports and interviews with sport stars and rising sportspersons will lend authenticity, further credibility and add star value to the programming.”
Most of the infrastructure for the channel is already in place, however, the date of launch has not been decided on yet. Prasad has been mulling over launching the channel for over a year now. Further elaborating on it, she said, “Running a news channel myself, I know the kind of sports content that goes on every news channel and how well it is received by viewers across the nation. It is very evident that with the rise of sport stars in various sports and popularity of sports content, a sports news channel is the need of the hour in today’s sports programming. It is going to be the first of its kind channel in the country, which we aim to launch after due evaluation of content requirement and audience expectation.”
What media planners have to say
Commenting on the development, Sushma Jhaveri, Senior VP, Carat Media, noted, “In terms of content, anchors will be important on a sports news channel as sports journalism is not very popular in India and they will have to get known faces or experts from day one. I believe youth driven brands and male upmarket brands will advertise on such a channel, for example Axe, Fair and Handsome, etc. Most of the sports channels are running after cricket and it will be niche news if they launch soccer and F1. The popularity of the channel will depend on what kind of anchors and what kind of content goes on air.”
According to Praveen Sharma, COO, Madison Media Plus, “At the top end of the consumer segments, there is a lot of interest in spectator sports outside cricket (F1, football, etc.), which today is largely ignored by TV news channels. So, while the mainstream consumer segments’ sports news needs are satisfied by cricket news on sports channel, the top end can do with more sports content. Whether the need is large enough to run a channel is difficult to say.”
Ambika Mehta, COO, Lodestar Universal, observed, “Content would be the key challenge for a 24-hour sports news channel and would depend on the strategy Broadcast24 wants to adopt. Being a first in the space, they could actually bring a lot of sports to the forefront apart from cricket to assume a leadership stature and position. Stickiness would be an issue, given the plethora of channels devoting hours to sports and hence, content would indeed be king. So would be audience segmentation and differentiation to leverage niches.”