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/default/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/tv-images/2015/11/13/Mark%20Whitehead.jpg?itok=vOh4RkRi

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/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/10/20/Anil%20Ambani.jpg?itok=4eNnBDRM
Anil Ambani’s Reliance sues NDTV for Rs 10,000 cr for Rafale coverage

NDTV has been sued for Rs 10,000 crore by Anil Ambani's Reliance Group in an Ahmedabad court for its reportage on the Rafale fighter jet deal. The lawsuit is filed against NDTV's weekly show, Truth vs Hype, which aired on 29 September.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/10/20/Arnab-Goswami.jpg?itok=HTFNEsfj
Republic TV leads English news genre in BARC week 41

Republic TV continued to lead the English news genre as per All India BARC data week 41. No changes were noticed this week in the English business news genre. Aaj Tak maintained its lead across every Hindi news genre for yet another week. Hindi news urban genre remained unchanged. Zee News dropped...

Television TV Channels Viewership
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/10/20/BARC.jpg?itok=z6etjpSh
Star Utsav bags leadership in GEC (U+R) in BARC week 41

Star Utsav and Zee Anmol swapped their first and second positions in the Hindi (U+R) genre in Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) data for week 41 of 2018. Star Plus and Big Magic exchanged their eighth and ninth positions in the rural market. Star Bharat and Sony Sab swapped their fifth and...

Television TV Channels Viewership
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/10/19/f1.jpg?itok=bHf3HxgX
Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) extends exclusive television and digital rights partnership with ABB FIA Formula E championship

Sony Pictures Network India (SPN) will continue to broadcast each round of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship for a further two seasons across the Indian sub-continent - including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Television TV Channels Sports
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/10/19/james.jpg?itok=kJ15Bp4y
James Gough’s innovative idea will be incubated with the intent to prototype it at Formula 1®’s Media & Technology Centre

Formula 1® Managing Director of Motorsports, Ross Brawn, and Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Driver, Lewis Hamilton, today crowned James Gough the winner of this year’s USD $50,000 F1® Innovation Prize at the FORMULA 1 PIRELLI 2018 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX in Austin.

Television TV Channels Sports
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/10/19/flix.jpg?itok=OGsLbI9R
FLIX FIRST SCREENING: &flix makes October spookier with the multi-city theatrical premiere of Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

&flix, the all-new destination for the most-awaited Hollywood blockbusters, brings the much-anticipated sequel Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween on Thursday, October 25

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/10/19/ganga.jpg?itok=rFc6bFbm
BIG Ganga Goes All Out to Delight Its Audience This Festive Season, Launches Engrossing Range of Shows

With the festive season right around the corner, BIG Ganga, the number one Bhojpuri channel in the Hindi heartland

Television TV Channels GECs
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/10/19/timw.jpg?itok=wzCjtez_
Time Maharashtra.....Feel The Pulse of Maharashtra

Viasys Digital Network Pvt. Ltd, under the leadership of founder chairman Mr. Sudesh Bhosle brings together a blend of Media and IT skills bagged by a deep understanding of Global Media.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/10/19/epic.jpg?itok=nRQuwY9P
EPIC CHANNEL TO CELEBRATE DUSSEHRA WITH A DAY-LONG LINE-UP OF FESTIVE PROGRAMMING

As the country gears up to celebrate the symbolic victory of good over evil, EPIC makes the day special for their viewers by airing special programming for the festival of Vijayadashami.

Television TV Channels Factual @ Discovery

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories