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BBC eyes Indian market

BBC Worldwide service reports a record profit for the year 2006-07 - up by 24 per cent from last year.
PTI | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON JUL 04, 2007 01:13 PM IST

Buoyed by record profits in its global operations last year, the BBC Worldwide service is now eyeing India to further strengthen its network here.

The broadcasting behemoth beaming 28 channels in over 259 million-plus homes in 15 languages across the world, reported record profit for the year 2006-07 - up by 24 per cent from last year.

BBC Worldwide chief executive John Smith said there has been three-fold increase in profits over the last three years and the growth "exceeded expectations" in most of the BBC operations in the past 12 months.

"We are now investing to build our digital offering and strengthen our position in markets such as the US, China, India and Australia, creating one of the world's premier content networks," Smith said.

The British broadcaster has already expanded its operations in India and the South Asia region as indicated by the launch of prime time news capsule for India last week.

Besides the expansion of BBC news operations in India, the broadcaster also secured a licence to launch Hello! magazine in a joint venture with The Times Of India.

"Despite the BBC World going pay channel last year, the viewership has only increased, from 15 million homes to 16.5 million homes in a year," says Vaishali Sharma, BBC World marketing head for India.

"Besides that we are already on the direct-to-home (DTH) platform of TataSky and Dish TV," she said.

According to the BBC World, the popularity of BBC as a preferred news is increasing in India because the viewer who watches local news also want to see the global news.

"A new ad campaign to promote this world news slot is also being launched," Sharma said.

The increase in profit reflected healthy returns from new operations, strong TV catalogue sales and growing demand for BBC formats, Smith said.

He said the highlights of the boom year included continued profits, strong international sales of hit shows and formats around the world, the refreshing of the companies' wholly owned channel portfolio and laying the foundations for strong digital revenue growth.

Ahead of 60 years of Independence celebrations, the BBC is planning a month long live coverage "India and Pakistan '07" to mark the important turning point in the history of the two nations.

Among several other expansion programmes, a new slot on India's emerging economy is also on the cards to target the business audience, she said, adding the broadcaster will continue to expand its reach in the Indian homes.

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