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Netherlands-based TERN teams up with iTV Network for UHD channel

MUMBAI: Netherlands-based Television Entertainment Reality Network (TERN) has teamed up with Kartikeya Sharma’s iTV Network to launch an ultra-high definition (UHD) factual entertainment channel called Insight in India.

As part of the partnership, iTV Network will operate the channel in India on behalf of TERN. It will hold the licence for the channel. It will also oversee transmission, distribution and ad sales of the channel.

TERN will provide the content. It has co-created 200 hours of exclusive content for the channel alongside industry-leading production houses including Zodiak Media, KIEM and Strix.

The channel, which went live today in Europe, will be launched in India as and when a deal is inked with a distribution platform.

TERN is owned by a UK-based company called General Satellite, which provides technology solutions to pay TV platforms.

“We are launching a UHD factual entertainment channel in Europe today. In India, we have partnered with iTV Network as our local partner for playout and broadcasting the channel. Content is owned by us, iTV will run the channel on our behalf. They also have the licence for the channel,” TERN CFO Andrew Spriggs told TelevisionPost.com.

“We are relying on them as our technical partner for playout and satellite broadcast in India. We are working with them on a revenue basis as a distributor to position ourselves with our bouquet of channels into the main pay TV platform and then extract advertising revenue out of it,” he added.

The partnership is limited to linear platforms. For non-linear platforms, TERN will chart an independent strategy.

Without ruling out the JV route in future, Spriggs clarified that there is as of now no joint venture or equity component in the partnership.

“At the moment, there is no JV or equity partnership. We are working closely with them, and downstream our conversation might move down that direction, but I can’t comment on that any further at this point,” he stated.

The tie-up is part of iTV Network’s expansion plans, which include venturing into regional entertainment besides adding to the existing fleet of news channels. It already owns and operates seven news channels including NewsX in English and India News in Hindi.

Spriggs revealed that the Indian partner is in negotiations with leading multi-system operators (MSOs) and direct-to-home (DTH) platforms to distribute the channel.

The large take-off of UHD TV sets globally as well as in India has prompted TERN to launch a UHD channel. Unlike most linear channels Insight will have interactivity so that viewers can chat about the content on social media.

In India, the two partners will pursue an ad-plus-subscription revenue model. On the distribution front, TERN prefers a revenue-share model so that everyone has investment in the success.

“The business model is effectively going to be pay TV subscription model, which we will use to engage with advertisers. With UHD, at least you are able to engage the audience closely and wrap it around social media applications,” he averred.

Apart from TV, TERN plans to monetise its content on non-linear platforms. “We will be offering our content on over-the-top platforms and video-on-demand as well,” Spriggs said.

On the content front, the channel will have reality shows, documentary formats and sports programmes targeting the 18–45 male demographics. The aim is to get into sports that appeal to people in the Indian subcontinent going forward.

“The first step is programming for global audience in English. Developing localised programming is one of the important things, which is why we have aligned with a partner like iTV Network in India,” he pointed out.

Spriggs expects the channel to be in a financially strong position in 18–24 months. The channel will be subsequently rolled out in other markets globally.