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FoodFood travels to US

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MUMBAI: Today, food is not just a necessity but has become a passion. Everyone wants to create a magic in their kitchens. However, not everyone is gifted and wants a “helping hand.”

FoodFood, a specialty channel, wants to be that guiding light to help people cook food with passion and enjoy it too. And soon, the viewers of Dish and DishWorld IPTV in the US will be able to do just that.

“After Canada, US was the next logical step. With the growing popularity of the Indian food, the channel is bound to attract a lot of audiences apart from the Indian residents there,” says channel promoter Sanjeev Kapoor. However, it wasn’t an easy task. Kapoor recalls that he had to travel to and fro many a times to finally sign the deal to include the channel in the Hindi mega pack.

“It took us around two years to manage to crack the deal, but we are happy now that we will be available on Dish which has the largest selection of international programming among major pay-TV providers in the US,” he adds.

The channel will be available on LCN No 713 on the network and will for now showcase Indian programmes.  But, if all goes well it will also air original content. “Yes, of course creation of original content is on the cards but first we have to build it and get more advertisers on board,” says Kapoor.

The channel is already available outside India in Qatar, UAE and Canada and next on agenda is UK, Africa along with the south east Asian countries as well as Australia. “Internationally, people want specialised content and we will give them what they need. We plan to take the channel overseas and it doesn’t limit us to television alone,” points out Kapoor who believes that the world going digital is a boon for specialised content.

“There is a reason why people are moving towards digital and consuming what they want, wherever they are,” he adds while emphasising on the fact that though Indian media houses are not recognising this, the scenario is quite the opposite worldwide. He believes that Indian broadcasters are very generic in their approach and that’s why one can see series of general entertainment channel launches every now and then.

Another issue hindering the growth of niche channels which aren’t a part of large media houses, according to Kapoor is carriage fees. “Almost 25 per cent of our total cost goes into carriage fees and to top it further, cable and DTH operators increase the fee irrationally,” he says agitatedly and adds, “Distribution is still a monster.”

He believes that the industry and the regulatory bodies need to come forth to provide viewers the content they want to watch and move beyond just one measurement currency. “There is no respect for expertise,” he says.

When asked his views about ad cap, he says that it is a global phenomenon and will only help the channel to innovate. “Helios is doing a very good job and is taking the whole ad sales to another level,” points out Kapoor while adding that the concept has helped them innovate and integrate with brands beyond the 10 second slot. Talking of one of the innovation he says, “We integrated a brand of oil into our shows to help people understand about a healthy heart.”

FoodFood is also focusing on its content. The channel launched a new campaign in April, this year, with a lineup of shows like K for kids, Pure Sin catering to various age groups. However, the biggest launch for the channel would be Kapoor’s travel culinary show shot in Australia for which the blueprint is ready.

In June, the channel which strongly believes in the digital power launched an e-commerce section to bring a variety of selective quality products from kitchen appliances, kitchen accessories and lifestyle products all shown on the television shows.

“Internet is already helping us when it comes to content consumption and through the e-commerce section we will be giving the community a dedicated shop,” he says.

With an optimistic approach, the channel, which is a joint venture between Astro Overseas (Astro), Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor and Sandeep Goyal owned Mogae Consultants, hopes to see better days ahead as the promoters are set to meet soon to decide their next step.

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