MUMBAI: As the countdown for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil begins, Indian fans, especially the ‘bong’ football enthusiasts are in for a special language treat.
While Sony Six is the official broadcast partner for the World Cup, Multi Screen Media (MSM) has also decided to telecast the matches on its Bengali channel Aath. That apart, Aath viewers will be in for a Bengali live commentary treat for the matches telecast on the channel. “This is for the first time that we will be having a Bengali live commentary for a sporting event of this scale,” confirmed MSM India CEO NP Singh to indiantelevision.com.
Singh also informed that a studio will be set up for the same. “56 of the 64 matches will be aired on Aath and have Bengali commentary,” he added.
This eastern most state of India is known to have a mass fan base which is crazy and enthusiastic about football.
According to BPN Lintas Media group Kolkata executive vice president Mahesh Motwani, “This move will definitely help increase viewership numbers for the channel as Bengal is the Mecca of football in India. The kind of domain knowledge about football that exists here is large and not found elsewhere. I feel that having commentary in the local language during the FIFA World Cup will help increase eyeballs to a large extent.”
Of the other major plans around the big game, Sony Six aims at tapping into the prime time slot featuring the live games from the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The channel will exclusively broadcast nearly 38 per cent of the total live games in the prime time slot of 9.30pm across the Indian subcontinent (24 games in the 9.30pm time slot out of the total 64 matches). The telecast which will begin at 8pm with one of a kind studio show, (leading up to the match kick off at 9.30pm) will have popular anchors and guests providing interesting and unique insights about the players and the tournament. The 9:30pm slot will showcase some of the most exciting match-ups of the group stages including Germany vs Portugal. Viewers can also catch some of their favourite teams including Spain, England, Uruguay, Netherlands and few of the most exciting knock out stage games in the same slot.
In a nation where prime time slot is dominated by soap operas, will creating a prime time band for football help increase viewership? Said Singh, “Well, India is a nation where prime time is a slot for entertainment, and that is what we are providing. But, this is entertainment of a different kind. Also the reason for creating a studio show before the match is to get the viewers in the 8:30pm time band on the channel, who then stick to it for the match.”
The network is setting up a studio for the Bengali live commentary. “The work is in full force. We will announce more details soon,” he added.
Sony Six had recently launched an Indian promo video featuring Bollywood actor John Abraham where he is seen watching the football matches on a large screen with many other football fans and viewers.