Indian TV landscape is skewed towards females: Sunil Kumaran

With extremely limited options for male audiences and lack of a Hindi action entertainment channel, RBNL and RTL to fill the gap with new channel Thrill

e4m by Suraj Ramnath
Updated: May 4, 2012 6:59 PM
Indian TV landscape is skewed towards females: Sunil Kumaran

Reliance Broadcast Network Limited (RBNL) and RTL Group’s joint venture is set to launch its Hindi action channel ‘Thrill’. Sources close to the channel say that the launch will happen anytime after the end of Indian Premier League season 5.

Thrill will see a multi-media marketing plan to create buzz. Media platforms within the RBNL portfolio that include radio, television and outdoor will come into play. Engagement in the social media space will also be key.

Sunil Kumaran, Business Head, Big RTL Thrill speaks to exchange4media about the need for a channel such as Thrill, its target audience and programming line-up, among other things.

What is the rationale behind launching a Hindi action channel?
We are entering the action entertainment space. The Indian entertainment landscape is skewed towards females with extremely limited options for male audiences. Our decision is fueled by two things – one is the fact that there are no entertainment channels that bring the best of international programming dubbed in Hindi language, and secondly, action as an entertainment genre is largely restricted to movies and has not yet been exploited on entertainment channels.

Thrill is RTL's maiden venture in the TV industry in India. What kind of reach and viewership does the joint venture intend to gain?
Given that we have handpicked some of the best content from across the globe and dubbed it in a language that is consumed at a mass level, we expect very good traction for the channel. It will be distributed extensively across tier I and tier II cities of Hindi speaking markets in India.

Which are the companies that you have tied up with to source content for Thrill? What will the programming line-up look like?
The channel has entered into strategic long-term deals with some of the top global content distributors and producers for entertainment and sports content. The programming line-up includes exciting genres such as action reality, action thrillers, action movies, extreme sports, fighting and wrestling championships, shock documentaries, and late night content.

The channel will have access to how many hours of programming from the Freemantle library?
Thrill programming features a well-balanced mix of hours from Fremantle as well as other leading distributors. It has access to the entire Freemantle library and we are hand-picking shows that are relevant to the genre.

Freemantle already provides formats for reality shows to other GECs in India. Will that impact viewership of Thrill?
It will not have any direct impact on Thrill as it purely depends on the format, its core audience and the platform it plays on. Freemantle will assist in making the best content available to the joint venture.

Reliance also has a joint venture with CBS. How will the programming on Reliance-RTL channel be different from those on Big CBS channels?
Thrill has been positioned as the first action entertainment channel showcasing international content that is targeted at the masses. BIG-CBS channels, on the other hand, feature the best international content to the upwardly mobile English speaking audiences in India. Both cater to a widely different audience base, with content that has been hand-picked and tailored to meet varied entertainment preferences.

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