Television

ESPN Cricinfo to bring more original programming

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MUMBAI: After introducing shows like Match Day, On the Road, Polite Enquiries, and Two Men Out at the time of World T20, ESPN Cricinfo has added on to the cricket fever this IPL with The Friendly Toast to provide comprehensive coverage and quality insights that Cricinfo has always provided to its fans through television. The website has plans to bring in more original programming with some of its shows on television.

Aired daily on Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD, The Friendly Toast at 8.30 am provides fans with a sharp reading of the game, making sense of the numbers and honest analysis of the day’s play - All of this in a fun and entertaining manner through the gamified interface of experts ‘owning’ teams for the duration of the show. Some of the most respected voices in cricket such as Ajit Agarkar, Daryll John Cullian, Dirk Peter Nannes and Iain Edward O’ Brien present the match analysis.

Speaking with Indiantelevision.com, ESPN Cricinfo India and South Asia editor-in-chief Sambit Bal said, “There is only an Extra Innings on Sony and we thought there is place for another show which has fun. But at the same time we wanted to break the traditional Cricinfo where when we talk cricket we talk numbers, we talks statistics mixed with a game format. We are trying to have cricket talk in that narrative where four people are playing a game and that’s creating a story of its own. When we were conceiving the show, we wanted to create something that brought the cricket analysis and engaged the cricket viewers with the show at the same time.”

Talking about the joint content creation package with Sony, Bal revealed, “ESPN is the world’s number one television company in sports and we have a partnership with Sony which does sports. So it is very clear that we will bring programming. At the time of World T20 we had a Match Day which was the studio show on Sony ESPN and soon you will see a Crickinfo show on TV, there is EURO coming, which will bring a football show.”

Whether original programming opens up the avenues for revenues, Bal replied “Nobody is in the business to not make money. Of course we hope that this will bring money. Also, in our effort to continuously build the ESPN brand in India, the IPL season is a great opportunity to engage fans in a way that keeps them coming back for more. Primarily the IPL audience that is following the game day to day is looking for analysis of the day’s play as a means to augment their cricket discussions.”

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