Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, Aug 23, 2003
`We are sure Ten Sports will be preferred sports channel'
Mr Chris McDonald, CEO, Taj Television Ltd
Mumbai , Aug. 22
NOTWITHSTANDING the amount of international cricket that is telecast on Ten Sports, the channel believes it has something different to offer. Currently telecasting Champions Trophy Hockey, Ten Sports claims it has sustained viewership everyday.
The channel which made a foray into Indian broadcast space with FIFA World Cup Football last year, says it hopes to broadcast a wide variety of Indian sports events. "We would like to grow this area of our coverage and develop more Indian sporting heroes," Mr Chris McDonald, Chief Executive Officer, Taj Television Ltd.
What, according to you, is unique about Ten Sports as compared to other sports channel?
Television is meant to entertain and therefore we at Ten Sports believe that to be the promise for the viewer. In fact, we have created history by becoming the first sports channel to get sustained viewership everyday. In terms of rights, we have 50 per cent of all international cricket to be telecast in India with rights to West Indies, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Sharjah and Morocco.
If India tours Pakistan in February then it would be available only on Ten Sports. The notable thing about our cricket is that it mostly features the best teams in the world. Most of our one-day cricket is in the form of triangulars, which makes for exciting and involved viewing and is telecast at times which allow Indian viewers to enjoy the games.
Apart from live cricket and 2002 FIFA World Cup, we are also telecasting Champions Trophy Hockey, Indian and English Horse Racing, The English FA Cup, Copa Libertadores, Real Madrid Asian Tour, French Open, The Superfund World Series featuring Narain Karthikeyan, The Tour de France, The Ryder Cup and British Open Golf to name just a few.
Apart from these, our regular programming includes Cricket Classics (which includes classic India-Pakistan matches, the Sharjah archive) WWE - the worlds premier form of wrestling, Fitness Beach, Gamer TV - a weekly round up of the best interactive games in the world, Robot Wars - one of the top rated shows from the UK aimed at students and youngsters, Chilli Factor - featuring some of the craziest and funniest sports in the world.
Is Narain Karthikeyan's appearance on your channel an exclusive arrangement? If so, what are the details? Are you planning building similar properties around sports local to India?
The Superfund World Series is telecast live exclusively on Ten Sports. This was called the Nissan World series last year and we had an exclusive arrangement with Narain and Tata Racing to telecast it live to our viewers. We believe that various sportspersons should be given the attention and prominence on television so that the Indian viewers can relate to them and more people would be interested in taking up this sport. Apart from this we have telecast the National Go-Karting championship as part of a programme called Speed.
We have also broadcast a wide variety of Indian sports events from coverage of Football National League to Ten Pin Bowling from snooker to golf. We would like to grow this area of our coverage and develop more Indian sporting heroes.
In terms of property which do you rate are your best ones?
It is very difficult to choose any one property they are all special. The cricket properties are special as we have some of the best teams in the world playing soon on our channel. Apart from the live events we have WWE which is immensely popular with all age groups.
In fact, when the WWE stars came down for the Raw Tour in November 2002 the response we got was amazing. Young and old alike thronged to catch a glimpse of the stars they had seen on Ten Sports. Cricket classics are watched regularly and the other programmes such as Gamer TV, Robot Wars have their own niche following.
What is the break-up on the programming mix that is currently aired? In terms of programming what is your focus going to be in the near future?
The programming mix is from the properties mentioned above and the focus would be to make sports viewing a daily habit. Sports has its own share of drama, glamour, tragedy, comedy and Ten Sports has already succeeded in a small way in building this habit for Indian viewers. The Legends programming has featured greats such as Muhammad Ali, John McEnroe, David Beckham, British Open Golf, as the tournament with the richest heritage, Brazil as the nation with a glorious football history. In addition we have award winning documentary series on football such as The Real Story and History of Football.
What is your strategy under CAS? Would you remain pay?
Ten Sports was launched as a pay channel and our price is Rs 14. With the kind of daily viewing that it gets we are sure it will be the preferred sports channel in all homes. The other fact is that in terms of price Ten Sports is half of any other competing channel while offering twice as much content. This makes it the best proposition for any value conscious consumer.
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