The channel will have soccer, rugby, golf, horse riding, motorsports, cycling and many others sporting actions while cricket will be added in a few months. The network is in negotiation with 1-2 cricket boards across all formats - test, ODI and T20
BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | February 7, 2017
Discovery Networks is expecting its newly launched sports channel DSport to appear in the base packs of distributors. The channel was launched on February 6 with 35 million households.
While the channel boasts of having received a promising response from the advertisers, it also wants to offer a good deal to the advertisers. “Hence, we would like to wait till we have scaled up our distribution to about 80-90 million homes before we bring in advertisers to the channel. We are in talks with a lot of direct-to-home (DTH) players. We want to really appear in the base pack, because we see a lot of such sports channels available only on the HD variants,” said Karan Bajaj, Senior Vice-President & General Manager, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific.
There are two major sports broadcast networks in India. These include Star Sports (Star Sports 1/ 2/ 3/ 4 and Star Sports HD 1/ 2) and Sony Pictures Networks India sports cluster (Sony Six, Sony ESPN, Sony Six HD, Sony ESPN HD, Ten 1/ 2/ 3, Ten 1 HD and Ten Golf HD). Other than these, Neo Sports is also a player in the market. DSport is being launched with content that is claimed to be a mix of premium sports and more of mass content.
Bajaj elaborates, “Even if there are existing sports channels, but nobody does 4000 hours of live programming. The maximum that one offers is 1200-1400 hours. 4000 hours is like a dream for passionate sports fan. It is an important decision and we have formulated a carefully curated list of sport events. Horse riding attracts about 8 million live viewers, golf attracts 65 million unique viewers and we are bringing the biggest established events in these sports. These sports fans are not really coming to any channel for sporadic broadcasts. We will have a regular coverage on these sports. We exactly know who we are going after.”
The channel is said to have acquired quite a few licences for sporting events for soccer, rugby, golf, horse riding, motorsports, cycling and many others ‘underserved’ sports.
A sports channel without cricket in India? Bajaj said, “Even these are quite massy sports. If cricket is viewed by 250 million people, soccer is at 125 million and it is the fastest growing sport. That shows that soccer is also for masses. In a sense, it is a commoner sport and then they are a scalable group of people passionate for sports. There is a popular unmet need and we are sure to create disruption with licence acquisitions. We are dealing with popular underserved international content. The impact and reach of the content is very high.”
But cricket will come to DSport in a few months. The network is in negotiation with 1-2 cricket boards across all formats -- test, ODI and T20. “We are not anti-cricket. From Eurosports, we are sub-licensing rugby and cycling. It is not about what does Eurosports have, it is more ground-up strategy than top-down. Hence, we first see what Indians are interested and more passionate about.”
Once the channel is launched, up and running, the network is also eyeing at creating local events. “We will definitely look at announcing on ground events and intellectual properties,” added Bajaj.
On DSport, the network is not looking at audiences from a demographic point of view. “As we have seen a lot of sports cutting across the spectrum, horse riding, soccer and golf largely cut across. This is led more by interest and passion for sports,” concluded Bajaj.