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Volume no: 1. Issue no:16

12 January 1999


Animal Planet failed to meet its 5 January launch date as a 24-hour service in India. The channel is a joint venture between Discovery and BBC World Television and is already available in a preview mode on state-owned broadcaster DD.

Discovery Communications India (DCI) managing director Kiran Karnik says the launch date couldn't be met as the first batch of digital decoders have been held up with the Delhi Customs' authorities.

"They are the same Scientific Atlanta decoders that Sony brought in for its AXN channel from another city and they were cleared there," says Karnik. "We've explained this to the Delhi Customs but they have been very cautious. Our receivers are for C-band and not Ku-band transmission, which is currently not allowed. But they've not moved on clearing them. Then we've had the holidays during Christmas and New Year, which has pushed things back quite a bit. It is unfortunate that such procedural problems occur at various stages of launching a television channel."

Karnik says the decoders are slated to enter India in batches, the first one running into hundreds will get Animal Planet a penetration of 4 million in the major metros.

The DCI team has hired additional staff in the past two months to help distribute the channel. Animal Planet will initially be distributed free to cable operators. However, it is expected to become a basic subscription service after a few months.

For the moment, however, Karnik hopes the channel will be up and running by 26 January. "I'm keeping my fingers crossed," he says. "We launched Discovery on 15 August, India's Independence Day. We hope to launch Animal Planet on the Indian Republic Day."

  Government re-issues executive order on Prasar Bharati

  DTH: Government throws a surprise

  Animal Planet misses launch date

  I&B Minister invites foreign investment in film industry

  Sun TV moves into the us

  TNT & Cartoon Network to begin digital tests

  First Indian Internet trade show

  BBC World service radio launches South Asia targeted band

CNN's New Delhi bureau chief Anita Pratap who was responsible for South Asia coverage on the channel has put in her papers.

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