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Viacom18 launches separate feed of Rishtey for Asia, rebrands UK and US feeds

MUMBAI: Viacom18 has launched a separate international feed of its Hindi general entertainment channel Rishtey.

Rishtey AsiaCalled Rishtey Asia, the third international feed, will be available in the Asia Pacific and Africa, catering to the needs of the viewers across 20 countries including the UAE, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Mauritius, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

The channel, which was first launched in the UK as a free-to-air (FTA) service, followed by the launch in India, the US and Canada, has also undergone a rebranding exercise for its UK and USA feeds.

The UK feed is now called Rishtey Europe, while the US feed will be known as Rishtey Americas. Both will have revamped programming mix and content line-up as part of the channels’ localisation plans.

Incidentally, Rishtey Europe will continue to remain an FTA service, while Rishtey Americas and Rishtey Asia will continue as pay services. Meanwhile, Rishtey in India remains FTA.

Anuj-Gandhi02“Rishtey Europe and Americas are the running channels, while Rishtey Asia is the third international feed of the channel. Rishtey is the only Indian channel meant for South Asians that started in the international market before India. It has done exceptionally well,” IndiaCast group CEO Anuj Gandhi said.

“We have realised that there are two or three different categories of people in the South Asian diaspora. Some have gone in the ’80s and ’90s, while some have gone may be 10 years back and their expectations are very different from the channel.”

The idea for rebranding is to have more localised content. According to Gandhi, the content will be curated for the audience.

“The original Rishtey was a hybrid channel with content from Colors, some Pakistani as well as kids content. Now we are going one step ahead and will give much more localised content,” Gandhi averred.

Rishtey EuropeInterestingly, with all the four feeds put together, the three-year-old channel now reaches out to over 70 countries.

In Rishtey Europe and Rishtey Americas, the content line-up includes young love story ‘Kaisi Yeh Yaariyan’, Turkish drama ‘Pabband Ishq’, period drama ‘Siyaasat’ (from Epic) and Pakistani show ‘Nail Polish’.

The channel will continue to offer kids’ shows ‘Luv Kush’ and ‘Krishna Balram’, giving regional viewers a flavour of Indian mythology.

“Through the rebranding exercise, we have carefully aggregated a diverse programming line-up across genres, bringing together an eclectic mix of shows not only from the Viacom18 bouquet of offerings, but also syndicated from broadcasters across the globe. We are confident that geo-targeting the content for Rishtey Europe and Rishtey Americas will enable us to further engage with our viewers,” added Gandhi.

Rishtey Europe is currently available on Freeview, Sky, Virgin, Freesat and leading OTT platforms, while Rishtey Americas is available on Dish and Sling in the USA, Flow in the Caribbean region (Trinidad & Tobago), and Bell and Rogers in Canada.

Raj Nayak, CEO, COLORSColors and Rishtey CEO Raj Nayak said, “Since its inception in 2012, Rishtey as a brand has adapted its content to regional viewer preferences, which has struck a favourable chord in the UK, USA and Canada. We are confident that the new content line-up will appeal to our regional viewers in the respective markets and further add to the success of the channels given the widespread appeal of the channel across age groups. We believe that the time is right for us to elevate the positioning and programming line-up of Rishtey Europe and Rishtey Americas.”

Meanwhile, Rishtey Asia is looking at expanding its reach in the APAC, Middle East and Africa regions. Its content line-up includes a variety of programmes from India, Pakistan and Turkey along with Bollywood films like ‘Raanjhanaa’, ‘Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya’, ‘Gabbar’ and more.

Rishtey Asia is set to launch Turkish drama ‘Pabband Ishq’, a dramatic love story interwoven in complex relationships. Its other offerings are ‘Nail Polish’, ‘Aasmonon Pe Lika Hai’, ‘Siyaasat’ and ‘Dariba Diaries’.

Rishtey AmericasRishtey Asia’s weekend primetime offerings will be customised to every market’s viewing needs.

Nayak said, “Since its launch, Rishtey has been steadily rising on the popularity charts across the world. As Rishtey expands its footprint in Asia, we are happy to see the petal brand strengthen its position in other regions. We are confident that the content will appeal to Rishtey Asia’s viewers in the new regions and tug at their heartstrings as much as it has resonated in India.”

IndiaCast business head for Middle East & Africa Sachin Gokhale said, “We have thoroughly studied the content need gaps existing in the South Asian TV space in Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific regions, and through Rishtey, we have created a unique channel with carefully handpicked content that will fill those gaps and deliver never-seen-before entertainment to our viewers. The channel has carefully put together the best content across various genres ranging from drama, lifestyle and kids to youth and blockbuster Hindi movies, giving the discerning viewer access to new and exciting content options. Our content is conducive to creative marketing campaigns, and through the insights provided by our research team, we hope to mobilise and engage audiences online and offline.”

In Australia and New Zealand, Rishtey Asia will be available on Vision Asia (NZ) Ltd, Yupp TV USA INC and Lebara Media Sevices Ltd. The channel will further be available on Eitisalat, Du and Yupp TV in the Middle East, Azam TV, Space TV and Mauritius Telecom in Africa, Digital System of Nepal Pvt Ltd in Nepal, and Scan International Company Ltd in Thailand.

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