March 6th will see the launch of the latest BBC channel to be exported to the sub-continent. BBC Earth, with the strap-line ‘Feel Alive’, is launching under Sony’s overall umbrella (Sony owns 74 perncent of the joint venture, with BBC Worldwide owning the balance).
Sony Pictures Networks India president Rohit Gupta says he is confident that the new channel will shake up the ‘general entertainment’ segment, helped by the BBC’s huge back library of high-quality programming.
The channel will compete with the likes of Discovery, Nat-Geo and History TV18. While the BBC launch means that its competitor channels will no longer have access to new licensing deals for content, it also comes when its competitors are also raising their local game. For example, Discovery is creating some 200 hours of local content this year. History TV18 is doing much the same as part of its drive towards localisation.