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BW Businessworld

Sony BBC Earth Launched In India

Sony Pictures Networks and BBC Earth announce their new venture 'Sony BBC Earth', a premium factual entertainment channel

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Sony and BBC Earth have launched their first channel in India to offer wildlife and nature-related content.

The channel will compete with the likes of Discovery and National Geographic in the Indian market. Sony BBC Earth is a premium factual entertainment platform to bring viewers closer to nature.

With its tagline of "Feel Alive", it will focus on nature, science and adventure. Sony BBC Earth will be available in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. It went live on March 6 in India. Sony BBC Earth has roped in Kareena Kapoor Khan as its brand ambassador.

The two television giants, Sony Pictures Networks and BBC Network, have for years contributed to the world of entertainment, sports and news. Sony BBC Earth will draw on its extensive catalogue of programming and reputation for excellence in the premium factual space.

N.P. Singh, CEO of Sony Pictures Networks, and Paul Dempsey, President, Global Markets, BBC, in an interaction with BW BusinessWorld discussed their joint venture.

N.P. Singh:

How did Sony and BBC come together as a combined channel?

Since the last few years we've been making a lot of investments in growing the network within the Sony Pictures Networks and we have made a lot of investments in the existing genres where we currently operate in. We are also exploring opportunities outside the genres we operate in and factual entertainment was one of those genres. When you think of factual entertainment, BBC Worldwide is the first name that comes to my mind and therefore we decided that SPN should partner with them because they are the best in producing factual entertainment content in fact they produce the most factual entertainment content globally. We have had relations with BBC in the past in acquiring their content and showcasing it on our various channels so we decided to take that relationship forward and got into a strategic relationship with them through this joint venture.

What is the business idea of Sony Pictures Network with respect to factual entertainment?
Since we have been exploring opportunities to grow our networks outside the genre we operate in and factual entertainment was one of them. Through consumer insights and deep research we understood the gap of the consumer needs and therefore we decided to launch Sony BBC Earth and we hope that we addressed that gap and the consumer needs and hope this will be a very successful channel.

What would you want to say to the viewers to tune into Sony BBC Earth?
All I can tell the viewers is that when they tune into Sony BBC Earth they will feel alive. When you see content that brings you closer to nature or when that content brings you near the reality of science or adventure you automatically feel re-energized and feel alive. And that's what the viewers of the channels would feel.

Paul Dempsey:

Can you explain the marketing strategy of BBC Worldwide?
Generally for us (BBC Worldwide) the big challenge all the time is to ensure that audiences are aware that our programs exist and challenges with more TV shows being made now more than ever so we need to cut through that domain which is very important. Increasingly we're doing that through the use of promotions and social media releasing footage ahead of its time so we can spark the imagination of the audience because we are very confident that once the audiences have found our shows the they'll love them and keep coming back. So it is awareness generation that is the primary strategy in the first place.

What is the business plan for BBC Worldwide?
BBC Worldwide exists to take the best of BBC's content to the world, find the biggest audience in the world and the revenues that we produce go back into funding programs at BBC and we do that by either exporting the finished programs to sell it to broadcasters around the world, we will sell formats for our shows for local producers to make, sometimes we produce those programs ourselves and distribute it to some markets and in some markets we provide our own branded services on our own T.V. channels for that content.

How will Sony BBC Earth as a channel perform in the current global market compared to other factual entertainment channels that already exist?
It is a competitive space in factual television and we fully expect the channel here will perform as we expect it to around the world which is to be at least to be among the top 3 channels in each market.