BBC Worldwide’s focus in India is spreading. Where on the one hand, there are international reports quoting Darren Childs, MD, Global Channels, BBC Worldwide, on the entity’s plans to launch children’s channels CBeebies in Hindi and English and general entertainment channel – BBC Entertainment – in India, on the other hand, the question on who BBC’s India partners would be is also doing the media rounds.
BBC Worldwide’s officials couldn’t be contacted for information on this but industry sources informed that Indian corporates keen to partner with the UK media major for its television interests include ADAG, Bharti Enterprises, Tata Group and Wipro Ltd.
BBC Worldwide’s interest in India was seen when it inked a deal with Bennett, Coleman and Company Ltd (BCCL) in 2004 to bring its presence in the print space and Worldwide Media (WWM) was launched. Next was radio and earlier in the year it had announced a joint venture agreement with Mid Day Multimedia Ltd in the FM radio sector for Radio One.
The media major is very enthusiastic on the television space in Asia per se and consequently, its Singapore operations have tripled in work force this year. The two new channels announced for India are part of the plans to develop six BBC channels in every big market worldwide. Reportedly, BBC Worldwide is close to securing an agreement to distribute these channels in India.
Childs is also quoted on the overall plan to produce programmes locally and possibly buy Indian production companies. “You could see Indian versions of familiar soap operas,” Childs has said in the report.
Looking at the matter technically, BBC Worldwide can launch a 100 per cent subsidiary in the broadcast space as far as entertainment and special interest channels are concerned, it really is only the news space where the channel needs an Indian partner. Whether the Indian partner from the mentioned major would be seen for entertainment or only news channels is yet to be seen.