ZEE TV TO LAUNCH
NICKELODEON THIS WEEK
The Indian kid's television market is
in for a bout of action with Zee TV launching the Viacom
kid's channel Nickelodeon on 16 October. Last week,
the Viacom management officially announced that Nickelodeon
would be distributed by Zee TV on Siticable and other
cable TV networks nationwide.
The company had already started dispatching
Scientific Atlanta decoders at the time of writing to
Siticable headends. Sources indicate that the company
will be seeding the market initially. Nickelodeon will
be beamed off PAS-4 and will be encrypted from day one.
Carriage fees had however not been decided
at the time of writing, but Zee TV has apparently given
some basic commitments to Nickelodeon relating to how
much it would collect from cable TV operators in the
first year. The channel will feature award-winning programming,
including the animated series Rugrats, Hey Arnold!,
Catdog and Angry Beavers. Live-action series including
drama, comedy and science fiction like The Journey of
Allen Strange, Clarissa Explains It All, Kenan and Kel
and game shows such as Global Guts, Figure It Out and
Legends of The Hidden Temple.
Nickelodeon is coming in at a time when
Cartoon Network claims to have a penetration of 8.5
million Indian homes. Its debut could result in Cartoon
Network losing prime band carriage - or even simple
carriage - on some of the Siticable headends (catering
to about 4 million homes nationwide) as Zee is likely
to give preference to Nickelodeon.
But wait there's more competition expected
in the near future in the kids' television channel market:
Fox Kids is slated to launch with a dubbed programming
block on one of the Star channels to be followed up
by a full-fledged 24 hour service service. One will
have to wait and watch if Disney, which has been extremely
tentative about the unorganised nature of the Indian
cable TV market, will finally take the plunge. Kids'
television is going to be no child's play when that