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Hungama applies to I&B Ministry for uplinking of two more kids channels

29-June-2005
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Hungama applies to I&B Ministry for uplinking of two more kids channels

After the launch of Hungama TV in September 2004, United Home Entertainment, sister concern of UTV Software Communications Limited, has filed an application with I&B Ministry for uplinking of two more channels in the rapidly growing kids entertainment space.

With over one-third of India's population below 14 years, these 330 million kids comprise the largest kids population in the world. This segment is underserved in India. There are presently 7 kids channels of which six beaming down international content and Hungama is the only local Indian channel with a mix of live action as well as animation.

Compared to this there are 20 kids channels in the UK for just 11 million kids and 17 in the US for only 61 million kids.

Hungama's plan is to break the kid's universe into three segments. (a) Pre-school (b) age group 4-9 (c) age group 10-14. This will form a three-channel bouquet for Hungama going forward. Hungama is already a Pay Channel on the Star Bouquet from day one and these channels when launched will also be pay from day one.

The channels will have the right mix of acquired content in animation as well as locally produced live action programming and animation from India. UTV is one of the most prolific television content producers in India and has one of the largest animation production facilities in South Asia, which would also start producing for Hungama.

There is a clear and distinct segmentation in viewership happening between the various age groups and our focus on creating content will be aimed at these different age groups, said Zarina Mehta, Head of Programming, Hungama. 4-9 years old are avid watchers of television and are clearly looking for content that will appeal to them . We will be sourcing International Formats as well as locally produced programmes not just from UTV, but from all content producers as we have done in the past, said Zarina.

We wish to retain our First Mover Advantage in the localised and Indian kids channels space, said Ronnie Screwvala, CEO, UTV. Presently we have just applied for uplinking and the exact timeline will be announced at a later date. The incremental cost for running a second and third channel will be nominal as the entire infrastructure for Programming, Marketing, Sales and Distribution is already in place, added Screwvala.

Additional costs will be more than met by advertising and pay revenues and therefore, no additional investment is envisaged and yet we will be augmenting the overall pie at this very early stage, clarified Screwvala.

UTV is one of India s integrated media players focused in television content, Movie Production and Distribution and Broadcasting and is a listed company on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

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