Television

'India is the only market where we pay carriage fees for our channels' : BBC Worldwide Channels, Asia senior VP, GM, Mark Whitehead

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/tv-images/2015/11/13/Mark%20Whitehead.jpg?itok=MTJoyzdo

BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of BBC, has decided to shut its two channels in India. This will mark the closure of BBC Entertainment and CBeebies from 1 December and reflects the difficulties that niche channels have in growing their business in an analogue cable TV driven market.

In an interview with Indiantelevision.com‘s Ashwin Pinto, BBC Worldwide Channels, Asia senior VP, GM, Mark Whitehead explains why.

Excerpts:

BBC Entertainment was refreshed last year. What went wrong?

The nature of the Indian market for pay-TV channels make the economics of running channels very challenging at this time. We have reluctantly concluded that we need to close our channels.

Could you talk about the carriage costs that had to be incurred versus revenues that were earned?

India is the only market where we pay carriage fees for our channels. We can’t go into commercially sensitive detail on our revenues.

BBC Worldwide was talking to platforms like the One Alliance. Why did talks fall through?

We did not choose to comment on speculation at the time and I’m sure you will understand that we won’t be doing that now.

Was the decision to exit part of the overall cost re-structuring exercise that is going on?

This decision has nothing to do with the overall restructuring of BBC Worldwide. We took the difficult decision to close the channels for commercial reasons.

Some of the reasons included the uniquely challenging pay TV market in India and the delays to digitisation.

‘India is a uniquely challenging market and decision to withdraw CBeebies and Entertainment is not part of an Asia-wide view



Didn‘t BBC Entertainment have an edge over competition as it covered three genres - entertainment, factual and lifestyle?

Both channels – BBC Entertainment and CBeebies – have been exceptionally well received by the Indian audience. However the uniquely challenging pay TV market in India made the economics of running them very difficult at this time.

CBeebies was ad free. Is running an ad free channel in India unviable at the moment?

Advertising is currently a major source of revenue for pay TV channels in India. Without that revenue we found it unviable to run CBeebies in India at this time.

Having said that isn‘t this the wrong time to exit given that the digitisation process has just started with Mumbai, Delhi already switching off analogue signals?

Digitisation has been slow and the long term impact on the economics of running a channel is unclear at this stage. If those economics improve with digitisation, we will reconsider launching the channels.

Is BBC Worldwide Channels looking more carefully at the cost structure across Asia and are you exiting other markets to an extent?

India is a uniquely challenging market and our commercial decision to withdraw the CBeebies and Entertainment was not part of an Asia-wide review. We have no plans to close channels in any other markets at this time.

There have been a lot of changes in the BBC such as a new DG and COO. How will this affect the functioning of the channels business?

The international Channels business is part of BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC.

BBC Worldwide has a strong focus on international markets, and our channels business remains an important part of that strategy for growth. We have a clear leadership structure running the channels business with David Weiland as acting Managing Director of Channels and I (Whitehead) running the Asia business.

Is there the chance that BBC might re-enter India in 2015 when digitisation is complete?

We believe India is an exciting market and in the event of changes in the options available to us, we would certainly consider re-launching our non-News channels in the market.

BBC Worldwide remains committed to India, where BBC World News – the BBC’s international news and current affairs television channel – continues to be available across the market, along with the bbc.com and bbchindi.com websites, BBC Hindi radio and Global India, a new primetime programme produced by BBC Hindi TV which launched on five ETV channels this month.

In addition, BBC Worldwide operates a TV production business, a content syndication business and Lonely Planet in India. BBC Worldwide is also evaluating the potential for a number of digital initiatives which have been successfully developed in other markets. BBC Entertainment programmes will also continue to be available on other channels in India – both terrestrial and cable, as well as digitally on our YouTube channel.

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/03/29/go%20%281%29_1.jpg?itok=7-Er07kN
GoQuest Media to globally distribute Cinema Vision content

GoQuest Media Ventures, a distributor of international content to television channels and digital platforms, has joined hands with Cinema Vision India (CVI) promoted by Siddharth Kak to facilitate distribution of content globally.

Television TV Channels Factual & Documentary
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/03/29/kabbdi%20%281%29.jpg?itok=BcYw-qV-
Pro Kabaddi: Mashal Sports invites tenders to own & manage new team

Mashal Sports, in which Star Sports owns 74% stake, has, pursuant to the Invitation for Expression of Interest dated 29 March 29, has called for expressions of interest (“EOI”) to be submitted by eligible persons, fulfilling the criteria provided for in the Invitation, who wish to participate in a...

Television TV Channels Sports
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/03/29/Arun-puri.jpg?itok=89_3x-2M
India Today Online is TVTN's wholly-owned subsidiary now

MUMBAI: India Today Online Private Limited (ITOPL) has now become a wholly-owned subsidiary of TV Today Network Ltd. India Today Online, on 28 March 2017, issued and allotted 1,99,20,000 equity shares of Rs. 10 each to Living Media India Limited (LMIL) which constitutes 21.01% of the paid-up share...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/03/29/FREEDISH-STB.jpg?itok=l__8ZZuS
FreeDish iCAS STB: Modern Comm, Velankani, BGM, KMTS & Millennium OEMs shortlisted

NEW DELHI: Five companies including two from Delhi have been shortlisted as original equipment manufacturers for set-top boxes for Doordarshan’s FreeDish on the Indian Conditional Addressable System (iCAS). This follows the opening of e-tenders on 9 December 2016 after which these OEMs were found...

Television TV Channels Terrestrial
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/03/28/barck%20%281%29.jpg?itok=eWIvgkHj
BARC India formally sets up independent council to probe viewership malpractices complaints

BARC India has set up an independent disciplinary council to further strengthen transparency and credibility of its measurement system.

Television TV Channels Viewership
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/03/28/Jim-Gianopulos.jpg?itok=N-QHfz2Z
Viacom names Gianopulos CEO of Paramount Pictures

MUMBAI: Viacom Inc. has announced the appointment of Jim Gianopulos as the chairman and chief executive officer of Paramount Pictures, effective 3 April, 2017. Gianopulos will report directly to Viacom president and CEO Bob Bakish.

Television TV Channels People
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/03/28/indo-vietnam.jpg?itok=rQDtgDJx
India, Vietnam agree on greater collaboration between pubcasters

NEW DELHI: Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu has said India would extend all possible support to promote exchange programmes between public broadcasters of the India and Vietnam in content creation, screening and distribution of films. During a meeting with a Vietnamese...

Television TV Channels Terrestrial
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/03/28/DD-Kashir-V-naidu.jpg?itok=amiTS5gh
DD Kashir packaging agency tenders floated

NEW DELHI: Doordarshan has floated a tender for selecting an agency for channel packaging work for DD Kashir. The Description of task, e-tender submission format and procedure is provided in the Bid document available on the DD website and two e-tendering websites. The pre-bid meeting in this...

Television TV Channels Terrestrial
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/03/28/Times-Now-800x800.jpg?itok=Ckdthpen
Times Now will be globally 'regional', non-mirror HD by next quarter

MUMBAI: Success does not end at leadership, it begins! With an aim to create value and make a difference, he is a man on a mission. He quit News X in November 2016 to fill the the big shoes of Arnab Goswami. Known to be an insightful, incisive journalist, Rahul Shivshankar joined Times Now on 15...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories