Media has been rife with the news of the proposed joint venture between Anil Ambani-led Reliance Media World and American media company CBS Corporation to launch a network of channels in India. Media planners have reacted to this news with a mixture of interest and caution. How much would these channels shake up the television market in India? exchange4media finds out.
The joint venture, which will reportedly be called Big CBS, according to media reports, is expected to commence operations from January 2011. The JV is proposing to launch shows featuring syndicated content from CBS, which has several hit shows such as ‘The Young and the Restless’, ‘CSI’ and ‘America’s Next Top Model’, as well as sitcoms such as ‘Two and a Half Men’.
Speaking to exchange4media, Shailesh Velandy, Vice President, Mudra Radar talked about the effect this would have on channels such as Star World and Zee Cafe that are already airing these shows. According to him, “Given that there is already a niche audience that watches these channels, this will certainly fragment viewership further and erode loyalty and impact viewership for these channels. We’re already seeing this with series like ‘Friends’, which is currently being broadcast across at least three channels and ‘CSI’, too, is already airing on AXN and the recently launched Fox Crime. Such moves make it harder for each channel to create an identity for itself and a loyal viewership base.”
On the other hand, Tarun Deep Kumar, Executive Director, India – North, Starcom Worldwide, noted that this genre was more content based rather than channel based and that it really did not make a lot of difference which channel these shows were telecast on.
The joint venture eventually plans to launch movie channels as well as regional entertainment channels, but is not planning to enter the news space. How much will it affect the already cluttered GEC space?
According to Velandy, “Unless the content, positioning and the target audience is significantly differentiated, the new channels are more likely to gain viewership from the genres instead of growing them.” Kumar too, felt that the new channels would not have too much effect on the existing GECs. He, however, added that with the addition of these new channels, there would be more inventory available for advertisers.
Velandy pointed out that the Indian viewers were habituated to a certain fare on weekdays, which was largely targeted at female viewers and a different one for weekends, which was more family inclusive. “In order to bring about a change in this habit, the content will need to be compelling enough to woo the all important housewife, because at the end of the day, we are still a largely single TV household country,” he concluded.