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Thursday, Nov 27, 2003

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History Channel to be launched in India on Nov 30

Our Bureau

Mumbai , Nov. 26

THE History Channel is being launched in India on November 30, through an affiliation between National Geographic Channel Network and AETN International, on the STAR bouquet. The pay channel will reach about 15 million cable & satellite homes initially, and is expected to reach 25 million homes by next June, according to Mr Zubin Gandevia, Managing Director, The History Channel.

The channel will be available in Hindi at prime time, from 10-12 midnight in some markets, and will gradually move to a 24-hour Hindi feed by next June, he added.

"AETN International has a global strategy of choosing entrenched local partners in order to leverage their knowledge of the market and its dynamics," Mr Gandevia said, announcing the launch in Mumbai. "Our knowledge and success in managing special interest channels and growing the National Geographic Channel brand make the NGC Network the perfect platform for the launch in India. The channel will also benefit from cross promotions and the ad sales and distribution ability of the STAR platform."

The programming is broadly divided into four genres: mystery, technology and transportation, crime, spies and war, and biographies. Research in India indicated that viewers have a strong preference for personality-led programming, especially the popular biography series, which will be localised to be in tune with viewing preferences here, Mr Gandevia said.

The channel will also have monthly themed stunts, local co-hosts and ground events, and promotions such as `Greatest Indians.' The channel will also look at acquiring films and programming on historical Indian figures and developing more local programming, possibly for the global network, as well, he added.

"There is global interest in India, so the aim is to develop programming locally, which can be used worldwide, so we can use India as a quality production base and create programming for global consumption," Mr Gandevia said. "Our aim it to source 10 per cent of global programming from India by 2007."

The History Channel, a division of A&E Television Networks, was first launched in the US in 1995, and today reaches more than 200 million viewers in 70 countries and 20 languages.

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