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Sony BBC Earth to air 19 hrs of content every week, local programming on the cards

MUMBAI: Feel alive with science, with technology, with nature, with stories, feel alive with Sony BBC Earth.

A 75:25 joint venture (JV) between Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) and BBC Worldwide, the channel is set to go live on 6 March at 8 pm with 19 hours of original programming every week.  The channel, in its initial phase, will target the urban mega cities constituting of 10 million towns. And is Available across all major DTH platforms and MSOs, in four languages- English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

Promising to make the viewers 'Feel Alive' through its offering of quality  

visuals, never-seen-before content, and positive insightful storytelling, the channel will introduce local programming in the country.

As of yet, BBC Worldwide operates around 39 BBC Earth channels across the world, in India, for the first time, the channel is launching as a joint venture with SPN. Through the JV partnership, SPN will make the day-to-day decisions of the new channel.

SPN CEO NP Singh said, "Sony Pictures Networks is known to create compelling and differentiated brands across all genres that it operates in. I am confident that this channel will be a major player in its category. A year down the line, I wish to see the channel in the top three list.”

Singh refused to mention the two companies that he thought were in the race.

The channel will bring award-winning, premium factual content from BBC to over 500 million of SPN’s viewers across India, and will feature some of the world's famous factual film-makers and storytellers such as Sir David Attenborough - The Godfather of Natural History and other well-

known BBC Earth personalities like Bafta-winning English naturalist, writer and television presenter Steve Backshall, author, broadcaster and writer, Ben Fogle, Dr Michael Mosley - a medical doctor and an award-winning science journalist as well as award-winning wildlife cameraman, presenter and film maker, Gordon Buchanan. As a key differentiator in its category, the channel will have defined programming slots - Why, How & What on Earth at 8 pm for fun and insightful science, Wild Wild Earth at 9 pm for nature and wildlife, and Earth Explorers at 10 pm for adventure and human interest stories.

Weekends will showcase distinctive stories with a special slot; Earth Specials. Key launch shows include The Hunt, Where The Wild Men Are with Ben Fogle, Trust Me I’m A Doctor, Snow Chick and the iconic, greatly anticipated series, Planet Earth II amongst others.

BBC Worldwide president - global markets Paul Dempsey asserted, “Our relationship with Sony has been a long one, built in the first instance on our production business, and one that has since grown across all key areas of BBC Worldwide’s operations. We partner with them to bring top programmes like Sherlock, Orphan Black and Top Gear on AXN to our fans in India, and now, this joint venture which is a pioneering model for us. By working with a respected local partner of the caliber of Sony Pictures Networks, we look forward to bringing BBC Earth’s world class content to a new audience who we know has a huge appetite for premium factual programming.”

The channel has created a unique brand film with its Feel Alive ambassador Kareena Kapoor-Khan. The campaign will be launched on a massive scale across multiple mass media and social media platforms. Though, it has no advertisers on boards as of yet and are in the the process of locking few deals.

SPN EVP and business head English Cluster Saurabh Yagnik added, “SPN’s philosophy is to create brands based on deep consumer understanding. We have worked extensively with viewers to sharpen our insights into what they want and have synergised this understanding with our compelling content and storytelling. Our brand positioning of ‘Feel Alive’ captures the emotion of subliminal happiness which viewers experience when they consume our content. We are getting a tremendously positive response from the advertisers and will be locking few of them in couple of weeks time."

The channel will primarily compete with powerful channels in the genre, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, and History TV18, owned by a joint venture between A+E Networks and  TV18. The three channels are undergoing several programming changes by providing local, cutting edge content to the viewers.

According to media pundits, the entire factual entertainment genre in India is valued at Rs 1500 crore (by revenue) and is continuously growing at the rate of 13-15 per cent annually. It's entertainment viewership accounts for 1-1.2 per cent of the total television viewership market share.

This partnership has definitely opened several doors for BBC making its way to the infotainment genre in India. Perhaps, the network may also consider launching its other channels - BBC Lifestyle, BBC Entertainment, BBC Kids, etc, in India. What next does the network plan to do in the Indian market, only time will tell...

Also Read :

Sony BBC Earth gets regulatory approval, to launch in India soon

BBC Worldwide's factual entertainment successful in India

Sony BBC Earth is just an approval away: NP Singh

BBC Worldwide India: Women team makes fiction push

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