Indian entertainment is set to get bigger with the Information and Broadcasting ministry approving 75 new channels aimed at attracting children and youth.
The big leap for the TV industry has come for the first time after 2009 when the ministry imposed a moratorium on allowing new channels on the ground of reviewing working of the existing channels.
Over 20 crore people in India watch over 600 channels available through different platforms such as cable network, Direct To Home, Internet Protocol Television and the recent advent mobile television.
Such was the impact of the moratorium, that the ministry received over 150 applications during the interim two years and many of them were from leading companies seeking permission to start new channels and replicate the existing one in High Definition.
This month, the ministry approved a bouquet of channels by companies such as Discovery, ESPN, FOX, Zee Entertainment, UTV Entertainment and Star Network.
Aimed at young population, Discovery — most watched English channel in India, will come up with five new channels — Discovery Kids, Investigation Discovery, Home and Health, 3D Net and Military.
Fox will have new additions with Nat Geo Adventure and Nat Geo Wild. ESPN will now have Star Cricket on High Definition. Both UTV and Zee will increase its base in the area of entertainment with number of regional channels.
Once all these channels become operational, the number of channels available to Indian audience will touch 700, among highest in the world. “The number is high because of diversity in our culture and increasing popularity of some of the foreign channels,” a ministry official said.