Discovery wants India among its top 10 markets

Discovery wants India among its top 10 markets

Discovery wants India among its top 10 markets
US-based Discovery Communications Inc expects India to become one of its top 10 markets globally in the next decade as it takes steps to cater to mass viewing segment including sports.

As TV viewership undergoes a change in India with the advent of digital technology, the company is adopting a hybrid strategy of expanding in traditional segment as well as a preparing platform to tap on-the-go content consumers.

"If you look at pure number's prospective then I would love India to be among top 10 markets for Discovery globally. At core, we want a scalable play to be the among top 10 markets in 10 years," Discovery Networks Asia Pacific SVP and GM South Asia, Karan Bajaj told PTI.

Right now India ranks between 15 to 20 global markets of Discovery Communications.

Bajaj said for Discovery, the Asia Pacific region that includes India and China contributes less than 5 per cent to the network's global turnover.

Discovery Communications Inc had reported full year revenues of around USD 6.5 billion in 2016.

There is a lot of scope for growth in India but it is also a very difficult, concentrated and competitive market with "top four player having around 70 per cent of the market", he added.

"Growth has to be very thoughtful. There are not easy spaces here," Bajaj said, adding that at present, Discovery has an overall reach of 110 million households in India.

As part of the growth strategy, he said Discovery would look at launching more channels to cater to the mass segment, like JEET -- a Hindi general entertainment channel that is expected to be launched the end of 2017 or early next year.

Besides, Bajaj said the company would also look at strengthening its sports segment with its newly launched channel, DSPORT with niche properties and live programming from various parts of the world.

"When we think of sports, there are enough of underserved popular sports that are not being shown on television in India at present. We will address those demand," said Bajaj said.

He cited golf, popular football leagues from Europe and China as examples of potential sports properties that has scope.

While cricket is an interesting proposition due to its popularity in India, it is very competitive, he added.

When asked if the company would bid for IPL rights, Discovery Networks Asia Pacific President and MD Arthur Bastings said: "We are not ruling it out."

Elaborating on the way forward, Bajaj said the focus will be on both traditional viewing and digital.
"In next 5 -10 years, we would have a completely blended ecosystem," he said.

In the long run, Bastings said Discovery Communications may also introduce live sports broadcast platform similar to Eurosport Player in the Indian market.

Discovery Communications India currently operates 12 channels -- Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Discovery HD World, Discovery Science, Discovery Turbo, Discovery Kids, Investigation Discovery (ID), Animal Planet HD World, TLC HD World, Discovery Tamil and a sports channel DSPORT.