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Viacom18 defers Hindi movie channel launch

Ravi budhwar

21 Apr 2011
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Amid a toughening economy, Viacom18 has tweaked its growth plans. Pushed back for launch is the Hindi movie channel, for which the company had invested over Rs 2.5 billion in acquiring movie rights.

The channel will now launch next year, perhaps coinciding with an improved ad economy.

Viacom18 is also planning to launch regional entertainment channels next year.

Two smaller launches will take place this year. The company will launch within three months Comedy Central and another channel for young audiences.

Indiantelevision.com had earlier reported that Viacom18 is planning to launch two niche channels.

"Given the changing dynamics of the television business in this market, we have decided to strategically re-prioritise our growth plans and are now planning to launch Comedy Central and a channel for young audiences within the next three months, while deferring the launch of our Hindi movie channel," Viacom18 Group CEO Haresh Chawla said in an official statement.

"We are a young organisation and therefore have the agility to tweak our plans as may be required. Given the direction of growth across our businesses, we intend to launch our Hindi movie channel some time next year, with a model that will cut the lead time to leadership significantly...like we've been able to achieve in our other businesses," he further added.

Last month, Viacom18 had appointed Ravish Kumar as head of its proposed Hindi movie channel. Kumar was earlier Star India EVP and general manager for regional channels, handling Star Jalsha and Star Pravah.

Kumar will now explore the regional prospects of Viacom18.

"We have also decided to focus more attention to regional language entertainment and Kumar will be leading our efforts to explore and launch that part of the business in the coming year," Chawla added.
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