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Da Vinci Media applies to MIB for starting edutainment channel

MUMBAI: Da Vinci Media India, the wholly owned subsidiary of Berlin-based Da Vinci Media, has applied to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) for launching its edutainment channel Da Vinci Learning in India.

The company’s foreign direct investment (FDI) proposal to invest Rs 50 million in the Indian subsidiary was approved by the government in November last year.

Mohit AnandTalking to TelevisionPost.com, Da Vinci Learning India managing director Mohit Anand says that the licence clearance will take at least six to nine months. The company is hoping to launch the channel in September.

“We had applied to the MIB for a licence last week. We hope to launch Da Vinci Learning by September this year. However, we are prepared to launch the channel if we get the licence before that,” says Anand, who was roped in last year to lead Da Vinci Media’s strategy and business in the country.

Da Vinci Learning is an edutainment channel targeted at kids in the 4–14 age bracket. It also offers content that caters to parents.

“It is a hybrid edutainment channel that offers varied content like live action, animation and documentaries covering diverse topics like physics, chemistry, history and nature. We believe in providing knowledge but in an entertaining way,” adds Anand.

“While we are primarily targeted at kids between 4 and 14 years, we also offer content that can be watched by the entire family. We will offer quality content which is non-violent and is completely safe for viewing.”

Da Vinci Media, which has 1,400 hours of original content, also plans to add localised content to its programming mix. “We will have almost 10–12 hours of local content grounded in India right from the launch,” affirms Anand.

While Da Vinci Learning is an ad-free channel globally driven primarily by subscription revenue, the company has decided to tweak its business model in India. The edutainment channel is present in more than 29 countries with a 15–million-strong paying subscriber base.

“We will also have ad revenue component in India since we cannot solely rely on subscription income. All said and done, we still need to give more time to digitisation before the benefits start kicking in,” asserts Anand while stating that Da Vinci Learning will be a pay channel.

Da Vinci Learning’s direct competitor in India is ZEEL’s edutainment channel ZeeQ. Unperturbed by the competition, Anand feels that ZeeQ has been positioned as premium offering with an overdose of preschool content.

“To my mind, the quality of content that we will offer will be a key differentiator for us,” states Anand, adding that parents are also an important constituent for the channel. “After 8 pm, we change the delivery of our content to make it more receptive for parents. Basically, the content remains the same; however, the way we present content changes.”

The company is also evaluating having regional feeds in case there is demand. “However, we feel that edutainment content, unlike entertainment, is best delivered in English because it covers topics like science and mathematics. But we are open to providing regional feeds if there is a demand in the market.”

Speaking of language, Anand says the content will be delivered in simple English which can be understood by Indian kids. “We are mulling providing our local content in Hinglish language,” says Anand.

He signs off by saying that India with its huge population of kids is a strategic market for Da Vinci Media. “We are here for the long haul,” Anand asserts.

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