Television

'India is the only market where we pay carriage fees for our channels' : BBC Worldwide Channels, Asia senior VP, GM, Mark Whitehead

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/tv-images/2015/11/13/Mark%20Whitehead.jpg?itok=9L81KcZp

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

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/11/16/BARC.jpg?itok=E_WBkCzr
BARC week 45: Santoor Beauty Soap claims top spot among brands

The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India has released its data for top advertisers and brands for the period between 2 November and 8 November 2019. The data reflects the top 10 advertisers and brands across genre on Indian television, including OOH screen, (U+R): 2+, Individuals NCCS...

Television TV Channels Viewership
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/11/16/Viacom-18.jpg?itok=-kXvoirS
Viacom tops earning estimates in Q4; reports revenues of $3.43 billion

Viacom Inc topped earnings estimates in its fourth quarter earnings reporting revenues of $3.43 billion. The company adjusted earnings of 79 cents per share in the quarter. Revenues of the company surpassed Zacks Consensus Estimate by 0.4 per cent and earnings per share beat the Zacks Consensus...

Television TV Channels GECs
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/11/15/flix.jpg?itok=eeMkU6nq
&flix to premiere Slender Man on Nov17

MUMBAI: &flix, home for the biggest Hollywood hits, brings a spooky story of a group of college students who face the exasperation of a demon summoned by them. “Flix First Premiere” is back with Slender Man on November 17, 2019, at 1PM and 9PM. Directed by Sylvain White, the movie stars...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/11/15/tata.jpg?itok=6uqAZbWe
Tata Aia Life insurance & republic media network partner for “Rakshakaran Hero” initiative

MUMBAI: More than 950 million people do not have Life Insurance. Further for every Rs. 100 of protection/insurance required only Rs. 8 has been invested, thus, leading to a “protection gap” of 92%. With Protection as the main purpose Tata AIA Life Insurance has launched Rakshakaran Hero initiative...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/11/15/b4u.jpg?itok=6mtPxkzl
B4U Bhojpuri’s “Aashirwad Chhathi Maiya Ke” WTP receives a grand opening

MUMBAI: B4U Bhojpuri’s “Aashirwad Chhathi Maiya Ke”World Television Premiere receives an overwhelming response. Based on Chhathi Mata, the movie was conceptualized and produced by B4U’s team &had the World Television Premiere on 2nd November, 2019. This was on the occasion of Chhath, a popular...

Television TV Channels Regional
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/11/15/cnbc18.jpg?itok=1_HMd6h3
CNBC-TV18 celebrates 20th anniversary

MUMBAI: CNBC-TV18 is set to mark a milestone by completing 20 years as an overarching business news specialist in the country. In the past two decades, the brand has been at the forefront consistently by delivering incisive, and accurate information of the business and financial sector. Since its...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/11/15/all.jpg?itok=xW0FDV_o
Peppa Pig's first-ever performance 'Peppa Pig Musical' rolled-out in Mumbai on Children's Day

They have been winning millions of hearts across the globe with their ‘Oink Oink’ and cuteness quotient. And now the loveable, cheeky little piggy, Peppa Pig, one of the most charming animated characters, is all set to take over India with their first ever musical on the occasion of Children’s Day.

Television TV Channels Viewership
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/11/15/Balaji-Telefilms.jpg?itok=uslHFPeq
Production rakes in numbers for Balaji Telefilms; Alt Balaji numbers up

One of the most successful television content production houses in India, the Shobha Kapoor and Ektaa Kapoor-led Balaji Telefilms Ltd (Balaji) reported more than double standalone profit after tax or PAT (up 117.6 percent) y-o-y for the quarter ended 30 September 2019 (Q2 2019, quarter or period...

Television Production House Fiction
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/11/15/barc.jpg?itok=_U4jurfV
BARC week 45: No changes in South GEC space

In week 45 of BARC India ratings, no changes were observed in Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu and Tamil. In Bangla, Bhojpuri, Gujarati and Marathi genres. But the pecking order of the top five channel has seen slight changes.

Television TV Channels Viewership

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories