Rajesh Sethi, CEO, TEN Sports speaks about the focus on consolidating sports entertainment genres like WWE in India and about the channel’s strategy to attract more viewership in 2016. He also shares his views about the digitization process and how broadcasters will have to wait to reaper the actual revenue benefits of the DAS roll out.
TEN Sports recently organized the WWE LIVE event in Delhi, how would you describe this initiative and what kind of response did it evoke?
In the last one year, we have completely focused on innovation and bringing the recent WWE LIVE event to Delhi was part of that strategy. Also, we were the first to air WWE LIVE in India, which used to be a delayed airing, and now we have even diversified into WWE multi lingual feed and customised it for the Hindi audiences too. We undertook these measures to make the programming of Ten Sports more enticing and broad based. We have also managed to create significant buzz around sports entertainment events like WWE LIVE, and the response from the audiences has been encouraging.
Can you tell us about the promotional plans for WWE? Also, what kind of ratings do you expect from the sports entertainment segment?
We are heavily relying on the social media channels to connect with our audience base across cities and we have managed to attract a huge number of followers on various social media platforms. This way we have been able to boost our audience engagement in a big way. As far as the ratings of this sporting category is concerned, when we analyse BARC ratings for WWE on Ten Sports today, it is even higher than cricket at times, which clearly points to the popularity of this segment.
Which are the key areas of focus for TEN Sports this year?
Our first priority was to organise the WWE LIVE event in India and we have managed to do it successfully. Now, the effort is to build on this initiative and bring the audience closer to this sporting genre in the coming time. Moreover, football is also a big focus and the airing of the UEFA Champions League on TEN Sports has been widely followed in the country. We also have rights to five cricket boards: West Indies, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Pakistan, and given the fact that cricket has a huge following in our country; it continues to remain among our key focus areas.
What is your strategy against competition?
Every broadcaster has its own unique segment and strategy that drives viewership. At TEN Sports, we believe in creating our own niche to attract more viewership. Our focus on developing sports entertainment genres like WWE is a step in that direction, and by hosting the sports entertainment event --WWE LIVE in Delhi recently; we have managed to attract greater viewership. At the moment, we are satisfied with the outcome across all the sports genres featured on our channels.
What are your thoughts on the phased DAS roll out?
I believe for broadcasters it will take some time before the real benefits of digitisation, especially in terms of actual revenue, will come into effect. However, as far as the consumers are concerned, they will get access to high quality viewing experience at low cost, besides having the freedom to choose the channels/bouquets as per their requirement and pay only for the channels subscribed. I would count all of these factors among the main attractions of the DAS roll-out.