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/2017/02/23/Sundaram%20%281%29.jpg?itok=verTtP_F
Times Now ex-CFO Sundaram joins Republic

MUMBAI: Former Times Now CFO S Sundaram has joined Republic, Arnab Goswami’s media entity, as the group CFO for the TV and digital venture.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/02/22/karan-bajaj%20%281%29.jpg?itok=PEGordMk
DSport bags rights of Chinese League, IPL on cards

Discovery’s newest offering in the sports industry, DSport, has acquired the rights of the Chinese Super League (CSL). The tournament will be aired from 11 March.

Television TV Channels Sports
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/02/23/vidyut%20%281%29.jpg?itok=aSVPkrQT
Movies Now brings Vidyut Jamwal to promote 'Knockouts @ 7'

Movies Now has associated with an upcoming action film Commando 2 for its flagship property Knockouts @ 7. The property airs action packed movies like Quantum Of Solace, Spiderman 2, The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Snake On A Plane and many more every Monday–Friday at 7 pm.

Television TV Channels Movie Channels
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/02/22/pramod%20%281%29.jpg?itok=X3UbSddA
Pramod Chandorkar is IRAA awards director

The Indian Recording Arts Academy has announced Pramod Chandorkar as the Awards Director. Pramod has been working as a Sound Engineer since 1995. He has worked on numerous mega hit albums and films as Chief Sound Engineer. He is one of the few audio engineers who have excelled in all branches of...

Television TV Shows Awards
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/02/22/Kalanithi-Maran.jpg?itok=byGkIFgE
Sun TV to benefit greatly from DAS III & IV: Centrum Broking

MUMBAI: Stockbroking firm Centrum Broking’s research team is relatively bullish on the Sun TV Network. In its latest report, Centrum has stated that Sun TV has said that recent developments bode well for the Kalanithi Maran promoted southern TV network. “We draw comfort from the court’s recent...

Television TV Channels Regional
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/02/21/akash-chawala.jpg?itok=turVwkEr
Akash Chawla bids adieu to ZEEL after 12 years

MUMBAI: Zee Entertainment Enterprises company Zee Studio's executive vice-president - films, and business head Akash Chawla has resigned after a long stint of 12 years.

Television TV Channels People
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/02/21/Ghost-buster_0.jpg?itok=pN9k_YTs
Tickle your funny bone with 'Ghostbusters' on Sony Pix

MUMBAI: Horror flicks never go out of fashion. And, if it has ghosts with a funny bone, you are in for a treat. Sony Pix is all set to premiere the cult Ghost-comedy film Ghostbusters on 26 February at 1 pm and 9 pm.

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/02/23/axn%20%281%29.jpg?itok=dodb6ZMY
AXN to premiere 'Billions' s2

A self-made Wall Street billionaire vs. a brilliant U.S attorney. One is shrewd whereas the other is brash. One is enjoying all the trappings of his success while the other is leading the fight against financial corruption in America. What connects the two is their desperation to bring down the...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/02/21/inside-800x800.jpg?itok=_rxsCsI-
Star Plus, Jalsha & Zee telecast challenged in B'Desh SC

MUMBAI: An appeal has been filed in the Bangladesh Supreme Court challenging the country's High Court verdict that approved continuing of telecast of three Indian TV channels. The Bangladesh High Court had paved the way for continuance of telecast of Star Plus, Zee Bangla and Star Jalsha. The...

Television TV Channels Regional

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories