Television

India TV's Poddar joins Ten Sports as distribution head

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MUMBAI: Having joined The One Alliance at the start of the month, Ten Sports is now putting in place an internal team that will work with the SET-Discovery platform to boost its declared connectivity. It has roped in Arun Poddar from Rajat Sharma's India TV to head its distribution business in India.

Poddar serves as V-P affiliate sales and took up his new assignment on 15 April.

Prior to this appointment Poddar worked at India TV for a year as vice-president (distribution). It is worth noting that India TV swiftly moved to fill the void left by Poddar's exit by elevating Praveer Gaur, who was regional manager distribution for the North and East at India TV since its launch, to all-India distribution head.

Poddar looks to be a good catch for Ten Sports as he has a wealth of experience in the sports genre. He spent seven years at ESPN Star Sports (ESS). At ESS he handled distribution for the Western region as well as all-India institutional sales.

Talking about his new assignment with Ten Sports, Poddar says, " We will work with The One Alliance to get our connectivity numbers up. For this purpose Ten Sports is scouting for three regional heads for the North/East, South and West." Industry sources indicate that Ten Sports is looking to get the connectivity numbers up to four million. For this purpose 5,000 IRD boxes would have to be activated.

Talking about the overall distribution scene Poddar notes that now it is a case of one bouquet fighting with another. The days of the single channel battle is a thing of the past. "That is why Ten Sports is so valuable for The One Alliance in helping them push their bouquet. We have the Indian cricket team's tour of Sri Lanka later this year. Next year we have India's tour of Pakistan and the West Indies.

"We are hopeful that we will be able to exclusively telecast these events in India. Our other key property is WWE. This brings viewers to the channel week in and week out. It has generated significant buzz for us

"We also have two of the Tennis Grand Slams - French Open and US Open. We are also strong in the international hockey arena. All these are long term deals which will make sewing up distribution deals easier. We also encourage more entrants whether it is the BCCI or Zee. Competition will help grow the market further."

Talking about his previous asignments, Poddar says that ESS was already an established brand. Therefore his task was to build up the brand's credibility further. "On the other hand with India TV I was working on pushing a free-to-air news channel that entered a space that was already occupied. However, using our on ground contacts and relationships with the cable fraternity we were able to build up visibility in the Hindi belt. The knowledge that I gained over the years over how the distribution business operates also came in handy."

PRAVEEN GAUR HEADS INDIA TV DISTRIBUTION Poddar's exit has seen Praveer Gaur, who was regional manager distribution for the North and East at India TV since its launch, taking charge as the all India head. India TV chairman Rajat Sharma confirmed to Indiantelevision.com the information about Gaur's promotion.

Gaur started as a dealer-distributor for pay channels including Star Sports, ESPN and the Star group of channels. At India TV Gaur will focus on getting the channel on the colour band.

Gaur says, "There are new channels in the market ready to target and buy the frequency we hold. Our plan is to involve the cable operators by organising interactive programmes."

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