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Dishum Broadcasting to launch Bhojpuri GEC on 15 August

MUMBAI: Founded by Vishal Gurnani and backed by other undisclosed investors, newly incorporated Dishum Broadcasting is gearing up to launch its first channel in the form of Bhojpuri GEC Dishum.

The free-to-air (FTA) channel will launch on 15 August. After incubating Dishum, the company has plans to launch two more channels in the movie and news genres. It also plans to start a movie theatre chain across the Bhojpuri-speaking belt of Bihar and Eastern Uttar Pradesh.

“Dishum Broadcasting’s first channel Dishum will launch on 15 August. Once we establish the channel in the next 6–12 months, we have plans to leverage the brand and get into movies, news and chain of cinema theatres across UP and Bihar,” said Dishum Broadcasting director Vishal Gurnani, who also co-owns an FTA Hindi movie channel called Bflix Movies along with Ashish Choudhary and Harish Kotak through a separate company.

Gurnani, who had earlier exited Trilogic Digital Media which he founded, is betting big on the new venture. Gurnani is confident that the channel will break-even in three years, while remaining tight-lipped about investments in the venture.

Currently, there are few dedicated Bhojpuri channels like Big Magic, Dangal, which is owned and operated by Enter10 Television, and Anjan TV. Mahuaa TV, which was among the first movers in the Bhojpuri market, has closed down due to financial crunch. Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) has agreed to acquire Big Magic from Anil Ambani-promoted Reliance Broadcast Network as part of a broader deal and is awaiting the the necessary approvals.

Gurnani feels Bhojpuri with an estimated 20 crore speakers spread across UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, Mumbai and Delhi is an under-served market. He also believes that there is a need for good quality entertainment content that has something for everyone in the family.

“There is a need gap and lacunae in the market. This channel is going to reach out to Bhojpuri speakers in Bihar, Jharkhand and Eastern UP and other markets like Delhi, Mumbai which have a significant population from these pockets,” he added.

Dishum will also launch in international markets with sizeable Bhojpuri speakers. However, that will happen in Phase II. In Phase I, the company will target Bhojpuri speakers in India, as well as in countries like Fiji, Mauritius and the Caribbean, which have a sizeable population of Bhojpuri speakers.

Dishum is targeting a reach of 65 million household’s right from day one of launch. It will be available on all major distribution platforms barring Doordarshan’s Freedish.

While Freedish offers a huge reach, Gurnani feels the economics is not right in the case of regional channels since the cost of buying slots is too high at Rs 8 crore.

“We will not go on DD Freedish because they don’t have separate pricing for regional channels. They have not assigned slots to any regional channels in the last four months, and they are not giving a separate pricing for Bhojpuri,” Gurnani averred.

His logic is simple. Bhojpuri channels earn a fraction of ad revenue vis-à-vis their Hindi GEC counterparts, therefore paying the same price for a slot on Freedish as Hindi GECs is not viable.

“DD thinks Bhojpuri is Hindi, which is far from the truth because Bhojpuri GECs get Rs 1200–1500 per 10-second slot compared to Rs 100,000 per 10 seconds for mainstream GECs. The CPRP for Bhojpuri GEC operate at 1/5th of the CPRP of Hindi GEC. When the revenue is miniscule and the advertising market is so limited it is extremely unfair to pay the cost of Hindi and make revenue of Bhojpuri channel,” he said.

The Bhojpuri TV ad market is estimated to be under Rs 140 crore and growing at a CAGR of 30-35 per cent. “We are here to grow the market, viewership and ad pie. We believe that our content will resonate with audiences. They would have not seen this kind of content,” he asserted.

Dishum will have a mix of fiction, non-fiction and movie content. It will also have a dedicated slot for kids content. It will have original content from 6-10 pm while afternoon slots will have movies. Morning slots will be reserved for mythology content, which is extremely popular in that belt. The kids band featuring live-action content will be aired early evening.

“We plan to have 150 hours of original content in a month. We are producing a lot of content in-house. Keylight Production House is working together with us. We have a movie library of 300 films. It will be a wholesome family entertainment channel which will have something for everyone,” Gurnani stated.