MUMBAI: The battle to capture the eyeballs of the UK-based
Indian TV channel viewer is about to get fiercer. The Viacom18
groups flagship brand Colors has announced that it is
going free to air in the UK from 2 September. Following this,
all of Sky Digital and Virgin Medias cable TV viewers
will be able to receive the channel as a free service.
Says Colors CEO Raj Nayak: We are elated to offer
two of our leading brands, Colors and Rishtey, to our viewers
in the UK. With this move, we will be reaching out to a much
wider audience base giving them an enriching viewing experience
of our top class fiction and non-fiction programming.
Colors became a part of Multiscreen Medias ViewAsia
bouquet (available on Sky as an Asian pack for pound sterling
17.99) in 2010 and was a pay channel there. Over the past
year, ViewAsia tenants such as Sab TV, Sahara one and Aaj
Tak opted to go free, leaving Colors to give company to Sony
Max, B4U Movies, Sony TV Asia and ARY digital on ViewAsia.
Now Colors too has headed for the exit, leaving question marks
over ViewAsias pricing structure.
Points out IndiaCast group CEO Anuj Gandhi: The UK
continues to be one of our most important markets - where
in the past we have challenged the status quo with the launch
and success of Rishtey and now with Colors going free to air,
we are making our next big move towards leadership.
Over the past three years, the Network18 group and Viacom18
have launched Colors, Rishtey and News 18 the first
international news channel covering India- in the UK with
the Viacom-Network18 joint venture Indiacast. The network
says, Colors is available in close to 75 countries and its
content is distributed in over 100 countries.
'' Over the last 12 months, we have had phenomenal success
with Rishtey that has made us the strongest challenger in
the market. With Colors going free to air, we will neutralize
the undue distribution advantage that some of the other south
Asian channels have enjoyed in the market, making it a level
playing field and we are confident of being the leading south
Asian network in the UK in the near future, says Indiacast
COO Gaurav Gandhi.
Adds IndiaCast UKs business head Govind Shahi: As
a growing network, we are thrilled to independently deliver
a broader spectrum of high quality entertainment to the consumer
with path breaking dramas, round-the-clock news, movie
premieres and all-time favourite international formats like
Bigg Boss, Indias Got Talent and Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa.
Now with our channels reaching DTH homes in the UK, we are
going to be the most potent and effective platform for the
advertisers targeting South Asian homes.
Once it goes free to air, Colors will become a BARB rated
channel in the UK. The latest BARB ratings for the week ended
11 August, show Star Plus is the leader in the UK market with
1.16 million viewers, UMP Movies is second with 994,000 viewers,
Rishtey, third with 888,000 viewers, Zing a part of
the Zee Network is at fourth with its best ever ratings
of 621,000 viewers. At fifth place is Star Gold with 580,000
viewers. Sony SAB TV follows with 573,000 viewers. At seventh
spot is Star Life Ok with 440,000 viewers.
Cumulatively, the Star Network channels account for 2 plus
million viewers in the UK - a stranglehold that the Netowrk18
group will be hard-pressed to try and break. But knowing the
IndiaCast, Network18 and Viacom18, teams, well, they love
a good joust. Get ready for a good fight!