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Wilderness Films India to launch non-fiction channel by yearend

11-May-2005
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Wilderness Films India to launch non-fiction channel by yearend

Wilderness Films India, a broadcast services facility and television software production and stock archival organisation, is now going to launch a non-fiction, factual channel by yearend. "We are negotiating with partners for investments in the coming week. We are looking at various options like private equity, venture capital and will decide which model to follow in sometime," said Rupin Dang, MD.

On the content, he said, "This is not going to be a channel that would just run documentaries back to back. What we are looking at is showcasing a blend of art, culture, history, wildlife, adventure and sports. We are trying to do some inspirational programming which would capture the positive aspects of India."

WFI has 100 personnel and we would be recruiting more people once we have finalised the channel. The programming would be mostly in house as the company has IPR worth $50 million and 50 per cent of the programmes are on high definition equipment, said Dang.

He also said that the company is looking at joint productions with independent associate producers.

"We are looking at various options to set up this channel like private equity, venture capital and various partner possibilities. And, whatever works out as the best model, we would go ahead with it," he said, adding, "We are expecting the new partner to pump in $15 million."

The channel should be on air between November and December and is to be launched on the DTH route. Asked on the operators that WFI is planning to tie up, Dang said, "We are partnering with Ecostar in US, B Sky B in UK and on the domestic front we are looking at DirecTV and SpaceTV as soon as it gets the clearance from the Government."

The channel is looking at content that is South Asian. "We are currently looking at programming which will be primarily on not just India, but the neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bhutan and Pakistan." Dang reassured that unlike channels that showcase programmes on typical subjects like Taj Mahal, this non-fiction channel would look at the unexplored territories.

On the channel's name, Dang said, "We haven't finalised anything as yet. However, we have two or three names that we are considering."

WFI is a company with a shared interest in broadcast and television on one hand and international documentary programming on the other. The company has been the first to introduce the concept of broadcast video systems rentals in India, and were the first to introduce Beta SP, DV and Digi Beta to the subcontinent. Now, it's also involved in high definition production. The company has more than 300 clients across India and over 200 around the world including CNN CNN, BBC, EBU, NHK, WGBH, World TV UK, Star TV, BSkyB, Granada, TV5, among others.

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