Indian content to ‘Glow’ in South Africa

MUMBAI: If you were ever in doubt about the cross-border reach of Indian television content, here’s some solid proof.

A recently launched South African TV channel – Glow TV, in the business of syndicating and displaying content from across the globe, will give SA audiences a taste of our home-grown television shows such as Bade Achhe Lagte Hain, Kya Huaa Tera Vaada and Sanjeev Kapoor’s Kitchen (Sony), No Big Deal (NDTV) and Koffee with Karan (Star India).

An FTA channel, Glow TV, will also telecast UK-based Indian shows like The Kumars at No 42 and Life Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee.

The first television channel from Kagiso Media, Glow TV, is a partnership between Kagiso Media and Nolava Television, and calls itself ‘Eastern inspired’. This is its first television offering as it has a significant holding in the radio business.

With the Census 2011 pegging the Indian population in South Africa at 1.3 million, a majority of which lives in and around the city of Durban, Glow TV will mainly cater to this segment.

Yusuf Nabee says that the channel will give what people have been asking for- universal story lines and great production quality

“We believe that there is no channel which caters to this market in the free-to-air arena. Whilst our primary target market is the South African Indian audience between the ages of 20 – 45 years, we do believe that our content has great crossover appeal and will attract audiences across the South African market,” says Glow TV head Yusuf Nabee.

Apart from India, content is also being sourced from various distributors in countries like Brazil and the US. As of now, Glow TV has no original content but that will be part of phase two and will be produced by its subsidiary, Urban Brew Studios. “We will look at content in all languages - our main criteria are compelling entertainment and high production values,” says Nabee.

People today are looking at great content, high production values and universal story lines, all of which Glow TV can provide, according to Nabee. “Glow is a cleverly tailored offering that brings comedy, drama, movies, reality, food and game shows, in one easy-to-access, free-to-air offering,” he exults.

Currently, Glow TV is only looking at adding English sub-titles though there are plans to dub shows in future.

Nilesh Kriplani says that this deal will give their shows great value

But why would Indian television channels like Sony, NDTV and Star India want to be a part of this new channel?

For Sony, it is about supporting an upcoming channel of a parent they have known for the last two to three years. “Although our channel is already known in Africa, this deal adds value to our library content and also increases awareness,” says Sony Entertainment Network Exec VP Syndication Nitesh Kriplani.

For Star India, it is about expanding into Africa with its linear channels as well as syndication. “Kagiso was looking for top-quality Indian content to populate Glow TV programming and Star being the biggest content creator of India, was a natural destination for Kagiso. So, we found great synergies in working together to further our expansion plans in Africa,” says Star India senior VP commercial Ashutosh Mordekar, adding, “For now, just the first two seasons of Koffee with Karan are being shared, but more shows are in discussion.”

Star India is expanding its reach to Africa says Ashutosh Mordekar

With Glow TV yet to pick up in the market, all deals are only for a period of two to three years. Also, with all syndicated shows, the channel is presently relying on advertisers for revenue. A package called ‘Glow Watt Bundles’ has been designed for Indian advertisers with a presence in South Africa. Kagiso Media has entitled its ad sales rights exclusively to H2O Media for all advertisers based in India. H2O is a media marketing company that markets Indian content that caters to the NRI community to Indian advertisers.

Currently, Glow TV is only available on the Open View HD satellite bouquet along with 14 other channels. An initial amount of ZAR 1600 has to be paid for acquiring the set top box, satellite dish and for installation that is paid to Open View HD whose USP is ‘pay once-enjoy forever’.

However, plans are afoot to bring in more channels under the Glow TV umbrella in future when South Africa shifts from analogue to digital TV. With the way things are shaping, more Indian shows are set to be aired on Glow TV as well.

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