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Sony to launch a channel for kids in 2017

MUMBAI: After announcing its entry into the infotainment genre via a joint venture (JV) with BBC, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) is planning to launch a localised kids channel in the first half of the calendar year.

NP-Singh_CEO_INSIDE01“We are launching our kids channel. It will be organic and locally produced in India,” SPNI CEO NP Singh said, without divulging any details.

Sony currently runs Animax, which targets tweens between 12 and 18 years. The addition of a kids channel will mean that the network will have a channel targeting children at an earlier age and also the tweens through Animax.

The kids genre in India is highly fragmented and under-indexed. It is dominated by Viacom18 (Nick and Sonic), Turner India (Pogo and Cartoon Network) and Disney India (Disney Channel and Hungama). Discovery India also owns and operates Discovery Kids.

Singh also revealed that the long-overdue launch of Sony BBC Earth SD and HD channels in multiple languages will happen in April. The company is expecting licences to arrive by the end of this month.

“Licences are expected anytime this month and we will launch the two channels in SD and HD in multiple languages. If all goes well, it will launch in April,” he stated.

The CEO also said that the company is awaiting regulatory clearances including Competition Commission of India (CCI) to complete $385 million acquisition of Ten Sports Network from Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL).

The integration of Ten Sports is expected to be completed in a few months. Once integrated, the acquisition will add five channels to SPNI’s existing portfolio of channels. Ten Sports owns and operates Ten 1, Ten 1 HD, Ten 2, Ten 3 and Ten Golf HD in India besides Ten Cricket and Ten Sports in the Maldives, Singapore, Hong Kong, Middle East and the Caribbean.

SPNI comprises Sony Entertainment Television (SET), Max, Max 2, SAB, Pix, AXN, Aath, Mix, Six, Sony ESPN, Sony Liv and its motion pictures division.