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Disney snuffs out UTV Stars, plugs in Bindass Play

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Disney snuffs out UTV Stars, plugs in Bindass Play

Disney India yesterday announced it will replace its Bollywood news and entertainment channel, UTV Stars, with a music channel called Bindass Play.The new channel, an extension of the brand Bindass, is set to launch on October 1, 2014.

Speaking on the launch, Siddarth Roy Kapur, MD, Disney India, who took charge of the business during the start of the year said, “Bindass was one of the most pioneering indigenous youth platforms in the country that has been able to speak to the youth in their voice. The focus is on relationships, which our research and experience says, is something that the youth resonates with. UTV Stars was an interesting channel within the mix, but what we wanted was to develop a channel to complement Bindass and really build on that brand. We think with Bindass Play we have succeeded in doing it. But the focus for us at this point of time is consolidating our presence within the kids segment and the No.1 position that we have developed there, running the movie channels in an interesting manner, building on our strengths and looking at Bindass as the one-brand driver within the youth segment to take us forward onto the next generation.”

The strategic move to create a brand extension of Bindass could be because the channel is currently the highest revenue earner for the network, according to media reports. UTV Stars which could not withstand competition from channels such as Zoom and E24 had resulted in the lay-off five months back, besides the channel's Director of Content, Manish Dubey quitting.   

Sharing insights from the business perspective, Nikhil Gandhi, VP and Head of Revenue, Media Networks, Disney India said, “This (youth) genre size is about Rs 750 crore worth of ad sales plus another Rs 100-150 crore in the form of subscriptions. It is a larger business in terms of the industry size and is growing at a pace of 10-15 per cent year on year. Now, we don’t want to isolate the 15-34-year-old audience by not catering a certain content set that they may consume. Having established Bindass in such a strong manner, we now want to extend it to our latest offering. From an advertiser's perspective, it is an extension of brand Bindass which they have already lapped up extremely well. It is not going to be a new channel launch per say, as it has already got a platform across DTH and all top MSOs. UTV Stars is currently available across 60 million homes and Bindass Play will benefit from this  from day one.”

With regards to the content, the new channel is expected to complement the strong fiction-based shows that the older channel is known for. Bindass Play’s shows will leverage some of its programmes around digital platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, where viewers can place requests. They can also SMS their choice to the channel to be played during certain shows.

Elaborating on this, Vijay Subramaniam, VP and Head, Content and Communication, Media Networks, Disney India said, “With the unique length of storytelling that we now have on Bindass, the time is right for us to serve another concept that pretty much covers the spectrum of youth interest through music. That’s what we have done for our audience in Bindass Play. While the foundation is music, what will make Bindass Play unique and successful and potentially as loved, is all that young adults have come to embrace Bindass for -  inspiration, empowerment and most importantly a celebration of every single moment in the lives of youth.”

While Bindass’ competitors in youth genre such as Channel V have chosen to stick to fiction completely, MTV has introduced fiction with its reality shows along with some Bollywood music. It is not yet clear how how Bindass Play will fare against pure music channels such as Sony Mix, 9XM, ETC, Mastiii, MTunes and Music India. 

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