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Turner, Warner Brothers to launch channel on March 15

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Mr Anshuman Misra (left), Managing Director of Turner India; Mr Siddharth Jain, Vice-President and Deputy General Manager-Distribution and Business Operations, South Asia, Turner International India Pvt Ltd; Mr Steve Marcopoto, President, Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific, and Ms Monica Tata, Vice-President and Deputy GM Entertainment Networks, South Asia, during the launch of new channel WB, in the Capital on Wednesday.
Mr Anshuman Misra (left), Managing Director of Turner India; Mr Siddharth Jain, Vice-President and Deputy General Manager-Distribution and Business Operations, South Asia, Turner International India Pvt Ltd; Mr Steve Marcopoto, President, Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific, and Ms Monica Tata, Vice-President and Deputy GM Entertainment Networks, South Asia, during the launch of new channel WB, in the Capital on Wednesday.

Our Bureau

New Delhi, March 4 Turner and Warner Brothers’ (WB) new English entertainment channel showcasing movies and serials from the latter will go on air from March 15.

The channel ‘WB’ is targeted at the “upwardly mobile, 15 to 45-year-old global citizen residing in India”. Despite the economic slowdown, Turner’s gone ahead with its plans. It recently launched the Hindi General Entertainment channel ‘Real’ in an equal partnership with the Alva Brothers.

India is the leading market for Turner in the Asia-Pacific region, added Mr Steve Marcopoto, President Turner Broadcasting System, Asia Pacific.

‘WB’, to be distributed by Zee-Turner, will be a pay channel after an initial free-to-air window. It is also expected to be on the DTH platforms, which serve the same audience it is targeting.

According to Ms Monica Tata, Vice-President and Deputy GM Entertainment Networks, South Asia, although there have been cutbacks in ad spends not all Section AB categories had stopped spending. “The target audience of WB would also be attracted to mid- segment FMCG products such as soft-drinks,” she added.

Mr Jeffrey R. Schlesinger, President, WB International Television, speaking from the WB studios via video conferencing, said that India was a very high growth market for them. Advertising revenue for English language content was still small in India and western Europe – their largest licensing and programming market – earned significantly more.

Mr Marcopoto didn’t share investments, but pointed out that the cost of doing content had escalated dramatically in the last five years. Turner, he said, would invest whatever it took to launch, market and maintain its channel in a competitive environment.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 5, 2009)
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