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Viacom18 looks to grow the pie with Colors Infinity

MUMBAI: Viacom18 is looking to grow the pie of the English entertainment genre with the launch of Colors Infinity and Colors Infinity HD.

India has a large English-speaking population. However, not all of them watch English content.  The idea behind launching Colors Infinity is to widen the audience base for English-language content.

Having acquired 2,000 hours of original content from leading studios, Colors Infinity aims to stand out from the competition.

Why is Viacom18 foraying into the English general entertainment channel space?

English entertainment channels have never gone out of their way to attract newer audiences, something Colors Infinity will try to change.  It wants to be that channel that comes in, grows the category, and takes it to a much wider audience. Colors Infinity aims to stand out from the competition on the back of differentiated content.

English is a mainstream language. English entertainment content should also go mainstream. Hence the idea of an English GEC with a mainstream approach.

What will be the content strategy?

Colors Infinity will have content from every single genre. The channel will feature drama, comedy, mini-series, action, thrillers, superheroes and talent shows. There is a range of lifestyle shows as well covering food, dancing, singing and magic. In addition, the channel will air some big live events.

However, there is no plan to air movies. The channel is confident that a series-cum-movie channel is not a GEC proper.

How strong is the content pipeline?

The channel has signed multi-year deals with major Hollywood studios and acquired 2,000 hours of new content. This pipeline will keep increasing.

Colors Infinity will showcase content from Warner Bros, NBC Universal, 21st Century Fox, Lionsgate, Sony Pictures, Endemol Shine Group, BBC Production and MGM. Besides, the channel will have content from a host of other independent content producers.

Sudhanshu Vats & Ferzad Palia

When is the launch?

The launch date of the channel has not been announced yet. But it will be before September. In September, the channel will telecast several shows that air simultaneously in the US. Initially, it will run on a free-view basis. It will be available in standard definition (SD) as well as high definition (HD) right from Day 1 of its launch.

Why use the Colors brand for the new channel?

There is a strategy at play here. Viacom18’s GEC brand is Colors. In the kids genre, it is Nickelodeon while in the youth space it is MTV. Colors is an urban and aspirational brand. It is supposed to have a lot of resonance with the type of audience the channel wants to tap. The Colors master brand will help the channel to reach a wider audience base. The endeavour is to grow the pie.

What is the revenue model?

Colors Infinity will be an ad-driven channel, because subscription-based model is yet to take shape in the country. The time is not right for a subscription-only service. The Indian market lacks depth for a subscription-led model.

What role will Karan Johar and Alia Bhatt play?

Colors Infinity has roped in Karan Johar and Alia Bhatt as co-curators of the channel. They have provided the team a lot of insights into which shows to pick.

This is a key part of the strategy to bring in a broader audience, to build more relevance among the base that identifies with them and looks up to them. They will be integrally involved with the channel’s marketing campaign.

What is the distribution strategy?

The channel is looking at a reach of 30 million initially. It will be widely available across DTH, digital cable TV platforms and in certain 1–10 lakh+ towns.

While Colors Infinity and Colors Infinity HD will be pay channels, both will be initially offered free to allow viewers to sample the channels.