MAX is all geared up for the big day. ICC World Cup 2007 begins March 13, 2007, and from the ‘Come Play’ campaign to the ‘play’ scene, not just MAX (the mainstay channel that would air all World Cup matches), but the SET Network itself has made changes to accommodate this big ticket property. The game, as is known, will also be aired on SAB and PIX.
Kunal Dasgupta, CEO, SET India informed that Sony would continue with its usual programming given the fact that MAX would not be airing too many movies. The movie content line-up will augment on Sony.
Dasgupta said, “I think the timing is fantastic as all the matches are day matches.” Prior to the main event, warm up matches have been played, of which MAX has aired only two India warm-up matches. These were seen on March 6 and 9, 2007 – India versus the Netherlands and India versus West Indies.
Throwing more light on the match schedule, Dasgupta explained, “We have matches virtually every night and in the first group stage, we have two matches a day. Both MAX and SAB will air these matches. We are looking at a whole week, for a month, where matches will start at 7.00 pm and will go on till 2.30 am.”
What will be the impact of such a timing? Dasgupta asserted that there would be no drop in viewership at all. He felt that this time the World Cup 2007 would be a record breaker on that count, as the matches would follow in the middle of prime time where maximum television viewers were available. Dasgupta added, “In fact, I think it will be a problem in the offices with a lot of latecomers as most of them would stay up all night watching these matches!”
“From the production point of view, we have our studio and MAX will have their own studio panel for ‘Extra Innings’, which will include Mandira Bedi and Charu Sharma. Both English and Hindi commentary panels will be available on MAX and SAB, respectively. There would be lots of contest also, and would be integrated in the ‘Extra Innings’ programming, he further said.
From a statistical point of view, he explained, “Today, with the options of both DTH and cable, we believe what we started in the Champions Trophy, where we had interactive multiple feeds, will actually help grow the DTH platform. We also believe that the in CAS areas cable would be able to also show these interactive multiple feeds. We will share these matches with Doordarshan.”
“We are investing immensely in this property and the reason is simple – this is called competition,” said Dasgupta.
He added, “If you rather want to watch these matches in the arena of action, I must warn you that the logistics are too complicated – the islands of West Indies are far from each other. Please sit at home or go to Goa to feel the beach ambience and watch TV there – just keep the viewership going.”