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Rishtey debuts in US and Canada as a pay service

MUMBAI: After UK and India, Hindi general entertainment channel Rishtey has launched in the US and Canada as a pay service.

In Canada, Rishtey has launched as a Category B service, which requires foreign broadcasters to have a local partner and source 15 per cent content locally. IndiaCast has partnered ATN, Canada’s largest South Asian broadcaster, to launch Rishtey as ATN Rishtey.

Rishtey is the eighth launch from the Network18 stable in North America. The other channels are Aap Ka Colors, MTV, News18, ETV Telugu, ETV Marathi, ETV Bangla and ETV Kannada in the region.

Announcing the launch, Viacom18 and IndiaCast said Rishtey is now available to US audiences on Dish and Dishworld on channel 699 and to Canada viewers on Rogers Cable on channel 924. With the launch of Rishtey on Dish and Dishworld, the channel will now be available to around 160,000 households in the US.

Rishtey is a different variant of its UK and India version, IndiaCast COO Gaurav Gandhi tells TelevisionPost.com.

“Rishtey in the UK and India are very different services from each other. Similarly the North American Rishtey is distinct from the other regions – both in content as well as the fact that here we have launched it as a pay channel. In the other two regions, it operates as a free-to-air channel.”

As Viacom18’s second general entertainment channel, Rishtey is geared to offer an engaging mix of shows, movies and entertainment from a wide spectrum of genres.

Gandhi said, “US and Canada are the most important international markets for South Asian entertainment and we are delighted to launch our second Hindi entertainment channel Rishtey in this region. Our flagship brand Aapka Colors has seen unprecedented success in the region over the last four years. With the launch of Rishtey, we address the audience’s need for variety entertainment and Rishtey will be the classic family channel with something for everyone in the South Asian household. Over the last two years, Rishtey, in its different avatars, has developed a strong foothold in the UK and in India, and we are extremely confident that the brand will be a huge success here as well.”

According to market estimates, the pay TV market for Indian channels in the US is estimated to be $50-55 million. The ad market is around $17-18 million.