New Delhi: Movie, television and digital content conglomerate Viacom18 Media Pvt Ltd announced the launch of a new television channel in the Kannada market. Titled Colors Kannada Cinema, the launch completes the company’s portfolio in the Karnataka market where it already operates two TV channels—Colors Kannada and Colors Super.

“Movies, music, TV content, it’s all one connected ecosystem," said Ravish Kumar, head of regional entertainment, Viacom18 Media Pvt Ltd. “We had a library of movies already and we had reached a point where we weren’t leveraging them. Movies have a very distinct viewership so it all just came together beautifully."

Parameshwar Gundkal, business head - Colors Kannada and Colors Super, added that the two older channels, with their focus on fiction and non-fiction content respectively, had carved a niche among urban, mature audiences. With Colors Kannada Cinema, the idea was to appeal to family audiences with Viacom18’s existing library of 460 plus titles which span genres like action, comedy and romance. In themselves, movies contribute about 11% of the total viewership on general entertainment channels.

“The Kannada market has been great for us," Kumar said referring to the company’s journey since its takeover of ETV Kannada in 2015 and rebranding it as Colors Kannada. Along with fiction shows like Lakshmi Baramma and Shani, the channel is known for non-fiction shows like Bigg Boss Kannada and Dancing Star, the Kannada version of Jhalak Dikhla Jaa.

To be sure, the Kannada TV market itself is also recording significant growth. According to the media and entertainment industry report brought out by global auditing firm KPMG, Kannada TV channels recorded a 3% increase in advertising expenditure in FY2018 and 63% change in viewership in 2017 versus 2016.

“Like most regional markets, Kannada is expanding very positively both in terms of the ideas we get to see as well as the scale of those ideas, and that holds true for not just TV but movies and music as well," Kumar said. “We’re starting to see markets coming into their own, variety and experimentation in content and that content really working."

To be sure, the Kannada movie channel launch makes much sense for Viacom18.

“With the BARC measurement system increasing regional penetration and TRAI pricing and packaging reforms, it has become important to have a strong regional bouquet for broadcasters to have enough subscription," said Girish Menon, partner and head, media & entertainment, KPMG. “Plus movie channels are low-risk products with high stickiness, you already have movie content for your GEC, you simply need to scale it up and the incremental costs are low."