Media group NDTV Ltd said it?is looking to launch several new channels, including general entertainment, regional and special format channels, in joint ventures with brand partners, according to chairman Prannoy Roy.
Another group official, who did not want to be quoted, said NDTV Networks is currently scouting for equity partners, who would have synergies for regional or special format channels, adding that the group had asked Morgan Stanley, the US-based investment bank, to find such partners.
NDTV recently said its lifestyle channel will be in association with the UB Group. Titled NDTV Good Times, it is a free-on-air channel that will start 7 September, and target a largely cosmopolitan audience. The logo of the new lifestyle channel bears the characteristic Kingfisher bird at the top left corner against a red backdrop.
The content of the lifestyle channel is primarily generated in-house, but 40% is outsourced to production houses such as Contiloe Films Pvt. Ltd, Miditech Pvt. Ltd and Camera Art Ltd.
NDTV’s proposed general entertainment channel is likely to be launched in January. Former chief executive officer of Star Group Ltd Sameer Nair is spearheading this venture. He is the CEO and director of NDTV Imagine Ltd, a subsidiary of NDTV Networks Plc.
It is believed among industry observers that, along with Karan Johar of Dharma Productions Pvt. Ltd, Nair also has equity stake in the company, though that information couldn’t be independently confirmed by Mint. In March, the company was listed on the National Stock Exchange.
When launched, NDTV’s general entertainment channel (GEC) will not only compete with existing industry leaders such as Star, Zee and Sony, but also new offerings such as BAG Films & Media Ltd and INX Media. BAG Films, for instance, is rolling out four new channels by the end of the year, and has appointed Pratik Basu as executive director and Amit Ray as chief strategy officer. INX, which has former Star head Peter Mukerjea as chief strategy officer, has named Probal Gaanguly as ad sales head.
GECs on Indian television account for nearly 40% of all advertising revenue. Says Manish Porwal, managing director, India-West & South, Starcom MediaVest Ltd, a media buying agency: “In a world where consumers have choices, special interest will definitely grow. What will be under tremendous pressure will be general entertainment. While new channels could bring in a temporary upswing, there will be an overall decline in general entertainment numbers.”
(Nesil Staney contributed to the story.)