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Sony keen on sports, regional channels

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Sony keen on sports, regional channels

Sony Entertainment Television (SET) is serious about getting a sports channel in its bouquet. Although it already has SET Max, which is a mix of movies and cricket, a pure-play sports channel is what the broadcaster is looking for. SET CEO Kunal Dasgupta told eFE that absence of a pure sports channel in ‘One Alliance’ (the distribution platform of Sony) was a gap that was likely to be addressed. Mr Dasgupta was speaking on the sidelines of a press conference here on Tuesday after announcing the launch of Animax channel.

To take the sports channel idea forward, the broadcaster is working on acquiring the five-year exclusive telecast rights to international cricket played in India. Bidding for the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) matches is expected this month. While Mr Dasgupta claimed he would bid aggressively, others like ESPN, Prasar Bharati and Ten Sports too are equally eager to make a killing out of the five-year BCCI rights. The bid price, could touch Rs 600-700 crore this time around or may even go higher, it is learnt. Last time, Prasar Bharati got the five-year BCCI rights for around Rs 250 crore.

Besides sports, other genres that One Alliance may include in its bouquet are ‘shopping’ and ‘regional’, Mr Dasgupta indicated.

Regional channel plans are likely to be executed around 2006-07. Business channels may also be included in the platform sometime soon.

There could be some more action in the kid/youth segment too. Even as SET now has an animation channel (Animax), talks with Disney are continuing, said Mr Dasgupta, replying to a question. “There’s no clash between Disney and Animax,” he said.

On direct-to-home (DTH), Mr Dasgupta claimed that Sony would give its content to both STAR and Zee, provided that it’s a good deal. “We are working out the details,” he said. As for wireless, the broadcaster already has a sound business going, according to Mr Dasgupta.


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