AETN18 to launch History channel in 6 languages on 9 October

AETN18 to launch History channel in 6 languages on 9 October

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MUMBAI: History, the factual entertainment channel from the JV between AETN and TV18, will be launched in India on 9 October.

Also planned are two more channel launches next year - Bio and Crime And Investigation.

In order to have a broader appeal, History channel will be available in six languages ? English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali and Marathi - at the outset. This is the first time that any channel in this genre will have a dubbed feed in Marathi.

It is worth noting that the other channels in this genre like NGC and Discovery took years before going into local languages outside Hindi.

History is looking at one more language feed a couple of months down the road. "We want to double the viewership of this genre. We feel that it is not just for the elite or for people who are well traveled or who like wildlife. We want to go beyond the six Metro game. That is why we have gone into several languages which will help us cut across SECs and age groups," History GM marketing Sangeeta Aiyer told Indiantelevision.com.

Viewership for fiction entertainment content abroad tends to be cyclical. "People get fed up of it and look for something new. This is where factual entertainment comes in. This trend will come to India as well in the next couple of years. Factual entertainment will become more mass," explained Aiyer.

History will be a high definition channel catering to the TG of SEC A,B audiences of 15 + age group.

The channel expects to have 80 per cent connectivity within three weeks of launch, said Aiyer. The marketing spend is in the region of Rs 150-170 million.

The channel has already roped in Salman Khan as the brand ambassador.

"Khan personifies what History channel is all about ? thrills, action, adventure etc. He is also not known for being associated with this genre which lends the tie up a novelty value," said Aiyer.

The tagline of the campaign is ?Kuch Naya dekho history banthe Dekho? (Watch something new see history in the making). The aim of the campaign is to get viewers to watch something new by going beyond the familiar.

History has conceptualised three TVCs and they have gone viral through facebook which will go on-air next week.

In the TVCs, Khan is a ?sutradhaar? of sorts. The TVCs have been conceptualised by McCann Erickson and directed by Prashant Issar of Tubelight Films.

"Generally history has a perception of belonging to the past and being about black and white images. We want to break this. History is being created everyday; it is contemporary. History is not about something that happened 50 years ago or about dead people," Aiyer said.

History will be conveyed in shows in an entertaining manner.

Ice Road Truckers, for instance, is about US and Canadian truckers navigating deadly roads. "While that is exciting to watch, one gets to know facts about how the Alaskan pipeline was laid out and how long it takes for an ice glacier to melt. It has also been shot in the Himalayas," Aiyer averred.

Another show called Swamp People tells you about a 300-year-old community that hunts alligators; it is about their eco-system, food habits and occupation.

"People don?t want something shown in an educational manner. They don?t want something that sounds preachy. Our treatment of shows is unique," Aiyer claimed, offering the example of Top Shot.

Top Shot, a show about weapons from different ages, is in a reality format. "16 American shooters shoot with weapons of different eras. The winner gets a prize. Viewers learn about different weapons like a bow and arrow," Aiyer elaborated.

History approaches a show on gadgets in a different manner through Sliced. Here the host takes a chainsaw and slices an object like a Volvo truck in half. He then shows viewers how the object functions. "This is far more impactful than just having a map of an object and then getting the host to show with a ruler how the object functions," Aiyer added.

On localisation of content, Aiyer said the aim is to have at least one local show within the first quarter of the channel?s launch. "But we cannot do a local show for the sake of it. That does not work. It has to have the same scale and value of international shows. We are talking to various producers," said Aiyer.

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