22 Nov 2017
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Star to launch Kannada sports channel on 16 Nov; Channel V to be discontinued

MUMBAI: After launching regional sports channels in Hindi and Tamil, Star India is all set to launch Star Sports 1 Kannada on 16 November. The Kannada sports channels will replace the broadcaster’s Hindi music channel, Channel V, which will be discontinued from the same date.

“The viewers are informed that “Channel V” will be available as “Star Sports 1 Kannada” with effect from November 16, 2017,” Star India said in a public notice.

Star Sports 1 Kannada’s launch coincides with Indian Super League (ISL) season 4, which kicks-off on 17 November. The league featuring 10 teams will be the first longer season with 95 games.

Like its other regional siblings, Star Sports 1 Kannada will be the home of India cricket and local leagues like Pro Kabaddi, ISL and Karnataka Premier League (KPL), the local version of Indian Premier League (IPL). The broadcaster is also in the process of acquiring local properties for the new channel.

“We are going step by step. Our Tamil channel has been a huge success which is why we are launching a second regional channel in South. Star Sports 1 Kannada will also have a local flavour to it in terms of content and programming,” a Star India official told TelevisionPost.com on condition of anonymity.

Star had launched its first regional sports channel in 2013 with the launch of Star Sports 3, which was re-branded Star Sports 1 Hindi in May. Subsequently, it shuttered Star Sports 4 to launch Star Sports 1 Tamil on 28 May.

In fact, the broadcaster had in 2015 procured 10 TV channel licences from the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) to launch regional sports channels in Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Bengali and Malayalam in standard definition (SD) as well as high definition (HD).

It utilised three licences to launch Star Sports Select HD1, Star Sports Select HD2, and Star Gold Select HD and surrendered seven licences namely Star Sports Bengali, Star Sports Malayalam, Star Sports Malayalam HD, Star Sports Tamil, Star Sports Tamil HD, Star Sports Telugu and Star Sports Telugu HD.

In May, Star also launched Star Sports Select 1 and 2 by discontinuing Star Sports HD 4 and FX.

Star India has long been a champion of broadcasting live sports in regional languages to increase sports viewing in the country.

In fact, talking to TelevisionPost.com in 2013, Star India’s Sanjay Gupta had said that a big part of Star’s cricket journey will lie in language feeds. “In the coming two years we are looking at channels in Tamil, Bengali, Marathi, and Kannada,” Gupta had said.

Endgame for Channel V

November 16 will also mark the end of Star’s experiments with Channel V. The broadcaster has repeatedly changed the positioning of the channel from a music channel to a youth GEC and back to being a music channel. However, the channel has constantly failed to deliver the viewership that is required to sustain a channel.

Channel V started off as a music channel. However, it started shedding its music content beginning 2009. In 2012, it positioned itself as a youth GEC with fiction content as its USP. In 2016, it again went back to music. Under the new avatar, Channel V aired a mix of Indian and international music videos.

What also didn’t work in favour of Channel V is that the music genre is highly fragmented with well-entrenched players like Mastiii, B4U Music, Sony Mix and 9XM who have built a loyal audience base among music lovers. The youth GEC, on the other hand, is a category has a very small ad pie.