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Raghav Bahl’s JV co Da Vinci Media shuts down kids HD channel

MUMBAI: Da Vinci Media, the equal joint venture between Raghav Bahl’s Quintillion Media and German media firm Da Vinci Media, has decided to shut down its kids learning channel Da Vinci Learning HD.

Da-Vinci-MediaThe HD channel, which is priced at Rs 25 on a la carte, has shut down on 30 April. Following a targeted distribution approach, the channel is available only on direct-to-home (DTH) platform Tata Sky and multi-system operator (MSO) Hathway Cable & Datacom.

In March, Bahl had told TelevisionPost.com that he would take a call on the JV in few months. It is not clear whether Da Vinci will remain invested in the Indian market or exit completely. Bahl also has his hands full with digital venture The Quint and his business news venture Bloomberg Quint.

The company had launched a subscription-based over-the-top (OTT) service in July last year with the promise of offering kids safe content.

Da Vinci had entered the Indian market in June 2013 with the appointment of Mohit Anand as country manager. Following Anand’s appointment, the company applied to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to invest Rs 5 crore in its Indian entity. The FIPB approved the company’s FDI proposal in October 2013.

Anand, who is incubating his personal ventures outside media, said that his role was to set up the company, bring in a JV partner and roll out the product. “The channel was doing perfectly fine at the time I had left the company in July. I can’t comment on what happened after that,” he noted.

Raghav Bahl 4In early 2014, the company had applied to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) for a non-news downlinking licence to launch Da Vinci Learning. The licence was finally issued on 29 May 2015. After receiving clearances from the FIPB and MIB, the company announced its JV with Bahl’s Quintillion Media in June that year.

The JV’s objective was to build a TV plus digital kids learning platform to be driven by subscription plus ad revenue. While Da Vinci is a subscription-driven platform globally, in India it decided to take the advertising route since the pay TV ecosystem has not yet evolved.

Da Vinci Learning is targeted at children in the age group of 6–12 years. The edutainment channel has a hybrid mix of animation, live action, in-studio and documentary content. It also had plans to create local content; however, the plan never materialised.

After signing a deal with Tata Sky, the company rolled out ad sales for the channel in May 2016 and rope in four founding sponsors, namely Eureka Forbes as presenting sponsor, ITC as powered-by sponsor, and Cavin’s Care Milk and Vinyl Cosmetics as associate sponsors. Fourth Dimension Media managed the ad sales of the channel.

The company had also done video-on-demand (VoD) partnerships with Airtel Digital TV, Siti Networks and Digicable.