ESS announces Tamil commentary for Formula1

MUMBAI: To increase penetration for Formula One in the state of Tamil Nadu, ESPN STAR Sports has announced that Formula-I 2005 season will have a special 'Tamil' audio feed with special Tamil programming starting from 'Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix' on 3 April.

This is for the first time in the history of ESPN STAR Sports in India that Formula-I will have a special commentary in any language besides English. Radhakrishnan Srinivasan, experienced presenter and anchor for Sportsline & SportsCenter, will commentate in Tamil for the benefit of Tamil understanding viewers in India. All the remaining 17 races of Formula One World Championship 2005 will have Tamil audio feed as well as the regular English audio feed, informs an official release.

Speaking on the occasion, ESS MD R C Venkateish said, "Tamil Nadu has been a strong Formula One market. Narain Karthikeyan's entry into the sport has provided further fillip to F 1's popularity in this region. Considering that we have introduced Tamil programming from the third race itself and the full season still lies ahead, local language transmission will certainly help in growing appreciation for F 1.

Tamil commentary on the live race will soon be augmented with special Formula One programming in Tamil. The post race F 1 show 'Chequered Flag' will also be Indianized to include comments from guests from India. In addition, special animation packages detailing the circuit and challenges faced by the drivers will also be launched. Special comments by Narain Karthikeyan and other races will also become part of the programming."

ESPN STAR Sports will soon launch a concerted marketing & publicity effort to ensure that more and more people across the state are aware of Tamil commentary on Formula One. A series of marketing initiatives including on-ground activities, special screenings, advertising, Formula-I promotions with schools and distributors related activity will be launched. These initiatives will be targeted around important cities like Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, Salem & Trichurpalli, the release adds.

Quoting TAM data (TG: Males, 15+ years, SEC ABC, C&S Homes), the release saysTamil Nadu rated the highest in all states across India in F1 season last year. The state received an average rating of 0.6 in (1Mn+ towns) across 18 races, reaching an incredible high TVR of 2. A total of 4.6 Million individuals in Tamil Nadu (1 Mn+ towns), sampled the product last season, reaching out to 44% of the core-targeted audience.

This year, the ratings are expected to be even better. The Narain effect was visible in the first race of Formula One World Championship 2005, which received an all India average rating of 0.3. This is almost three times the rating of the same race last year.

Besides the main race, STAR Sports' comprehensive coverage of F1 also includes the action of the 'Qualifying Race'. And 45 minutes before the main race, 'Race Day', STAR Sports' unique preview show, will have all the exclusive interviews, race preview together with track and weather update. In the post-race show 'Chequered Flag' there will be post-race interviews and highlights, plus a preview of the next race.

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