Infotainment major Discovery will foray into mass entertainment with a new channel, Jeet, next month.
Shows on the Hindi general entertainment channel, also to be broadcast in Tamil and Telugu, will not be restricted to television viewers only. Discovery has signed up Netflix as its exclusive global over-the-top (OTT) partner, implying shows on the channel will also be available to digital audiences, but with a lag.
Netflix will pay a license fee to Discovery to access its Jeet library, said Karan Bajaj, senior vice-president and general manager, South Asia, Discovery Communications India.
“The deal ensures that Jeet’s content will be available to audiences across markets. Those interested in the content can binge-watch each series after it is aired on the channel,” he said.
Sources said Netflix was not the only OTT platform vying for Discovery’s Jeet content. Amazon Prime and Reliance Jio were also in the race, but Discovery settled for Netflix.
Though Bajaj did not disclose the investment into Jeet, media industry experts said the broadcaster, which moved base from Delhi to Mumbai last year, is estimated to be putting in Rs 5-6 billion into the channel.
The target is to tap the middle of the television viewing pyramid, which consists of around 120 million households. “India has around 250 million television households, of which the top 15-20 million are familiar with us and watch us keenly. They are also digitally-savvy and our strategy there would be to use a digital pivot to reach them. With Jeet, we are tapping the next rung, which consists of around 120 million households,” Bajaj said.
Discovery has five hours of local programming daily for Jeet. Among the shows lined up are one on the life of yoga guru Ramdev, another on the Battle of Saragarhi, where 21 Sikhs fought an army of Afghan soldiers in 1897, and a fictional story, Mere Papa Hero Hiralal.
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