Viacom-promoted Showtime, has been unable to cobble together a group of Indian channels for viewers on its direct-to-home (DTH) platform in the Middle East and North Africa this year, partly due to technical reasons.
Since, the Asia Plus bouquet of channels is not in place, MTV India has entered the Showtime platform in the main Showtime bouquet, which includes a group of English-language channels. Incidentally, Viacom owns the MTV music channel.
Showtime’s original game plan was to launch at least a 5-channel bouquet on its direct-to-home platform by the end of this year. The channels were Aaj Tak, MTV India, Lashkara, SABe TV and Kairali.
Showtime’s Asia Plus bouquet, would have offered channels in the genres of Hindi entertainment, music and other regional languages like Punjabi and Malayalam. The signals of the Indian channels would be downlinked in Cairo and uplinked on to Nilesat for the audiences in the Middle East and North Africa. A soft launch was planned for October this year.
According to sources SABe TV had signed an memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Showtime to be on their platform. Reminiscent India Television, which owns the Lashkara channel, was also in negotiations with Showtime. Showtime would have charged a bouquet pricing for the Asia Plus package. The revenue model would include subscription and advertisement earnings.
Showtime currently distributes English and Arabic channels on its DTH platform. Its rival DTH platform, Pehla, carries channels like B4U and Zee TV.
MTV India currently gets only pay revenue. Ads will become a source of revenue only after the music channel attracts a sizeable viewership. Besides being encrypted and on the DTH platform this year, MTV is also available on the cable systems in the Middle East through E-Vision.