SET-Discovery strengthens southern distribution teams

MUMBAI: Sony-Discovery has strengthened focus in the southern region even as it has a range of English-language channels in its distribution bouquet.

While Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh form one division, Tamil Nadu and Kerala are part of the other group. Each division is under a regional manager.

"Cable and satellite connectivity is very high in the southern region. So we decided to have two divisions to provide better focus," says SET Discovery Pvt Ltd president Shantonu Aditya.

In the Sony-Discovery bouquet are the Discovery Channel, AXN, Animal Planet, MTV, Nick and Animax. Premier English-language movie channel HBO was a big driver, but will migrate to Zee-Turner platform with effect from 1 January, 2005. Analysts say this will affect the Sony-Discovery bouquet.

SET Discovery has also put a regional manager in the Central region to take care of the growing cable TV penetration in Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh. "The under-reporting of subscribers is the highest in this region. Cable operators just declare 8-10 per cent of their subscriber base. The cost of collections is also very high because of the cable TV homes being located in far-flung territories. We see this region growing fast," says Aditya.

SET Discovery has also increased its distributors to 70, up from 30, two years ago. "We needed a wider chain of distributors to focus on smaller towns," says Aditya.


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