Following the debacle with STAR India on its distribution front, Neo Sports Broadcast brought the distribution of its channels under its control. In a recent media announcement, Neo Sports Broadcast has informed that its channels, Neo Sports (a cricket only channel) and Neo Sports Plus, were now in the ‘cow belt’ states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana.
Shashi Kalathil, CEO, Neo Sports Broadcast, said, “I am delighted with the progress that we have made in the less than two months that we have been independently distributing our channels. Under the leadership of Arun Poddar, President Affiliate Sales, I believe we have changed the rules. The analogue cable market in India is a revenue extraction game, traditionally broadcasters have been very advertising focused and have played for high stakes in the metros such as Delhi and Mumbai and advertising critical centres such as Gurgaon, where most of the media agencies have offices.”
He added, “Our approach has been different. In Phase-I, we have gone to the traditionally less penetrated states such as MP, UP and Rajasthan. It is incidental that while doing so we are now 100 per cent lit in Gurgaon and the large cities of Gujarat too.”
Kalathil went on to clarify that in Phase-II of the rollout by the end of the first week of September 2007, Neo would cover platforms such as DTH and some of the major MSOs. Phase-III of the rollout by mid-September would cover much of the South.
“This is critical to our multi-language cricket broadcast strategy,” he said. The final part of the rollout would be in the large metros and would be completed by mid-September, keeping in mind the India-Australia ODI Series in October 2007.
As is known, Neo Sports Broadcast decided to independently distribute its TV channels two months back after terminating their distribution arrangement with Star India. Arun Poddar, then CEO of Zee Turner, joined Neo to lead this initiative.