Malaysia-based media company Astro Measat and the Ronnie Screwvala-promoted UTV have named their equal joint venture, that will focus on entertainment for the young, Bindaas.
Bindass has plans for a clutch of businesses including broadcasting, gaming and the Internet. The two media companies are likely to invest around Rs200 crore in the business over the next three years. The investment, however, doesn’t include a retail foray under which the two partners plan to launch several ‘hang-out’ zones for youngsters in the 15-24 years age group.
In the broadcast business, the two companies are likely to launch a slew of youth channels in Hindi, English and some regional languages. The first will likely be a Hindi channel that will hit the airwaves by the middle of 2007.
The company is also likely to launch mobile and web services. UTV’s chief operating officer Zarina Mehta said the initiatives will use substantial user-generated content. “All our platforms and content will be unique,” she said.
UTV and Astro worked together earlier to launch two children’s channels in Malaysia and Indonesia. Astro also had a stake in UTV-promoted kids television channel Hungama TV, which it later sold to Walt Disney India.
Mehta said a product similar to Bindass will be launched in Southeast Asia within a year.
The two partners are likely to spend around Rs14 crore over the next nine months on marketing Bindass. UTV feels the youth audience in the country, which comprises around 23% of the total viewership in cable and satellite (C&S) television homes, is underserved by existing broadcast offerings.
The brand is also likely to be anchored by retail initiatives. The hang-out zones to be launched will be “fun places for youngsters, with a focus on music, sports, films and other youth-oriented interests”, said a company spokesperson.