With its English cluster showing promising growth among viewers and advertisers alike, Viacom18 is keen to put its might behind local productions to woo advertisers and also create co-branding opportunities. Penetration and local production is also increasing the viewer base.

For six years, the company had only one channel, Vh1. In 2012, they introduced Comedy Central and last year they introduced English GEC (General Entertainment Channel) Colors Infinity. The company claims to have achieved significant growth in both viewership base and advertisers. Besides acquiring international content, the company is also strengthening its local productions. Colors Infinity had started with first locally produced IP. More viewers are opting for English content.

The company claims that its English entertainment cluster accounts for about 53 percent share in the English genre. It broadcasts English channels like Colors Infinity, Comedy Central, and Vh1. At least sixty percent of viewership for the channel is coming from beyond-the-top metros. Viacom18 competes with players like AXN, Star World, Zee café, and HBO HD, among others. English entertainment currently accounts for less than one percent of the total GEC pie, which is estimated at Rs. 54,300 crore.

"Local shows are important. It is tough to talk about our pipeline of locally produced shows. We are looking at across genres for new properties. We have done well in the monetization of our shows. There is a lot you can do for advertisers in terms of integration and customization in local shows versus the internationally acquired shows. Advertisers see value in the company creating local content, and these shows could have branded content."

Ferzad Palia
EVP and Head, Youth and English Entertainment,
Viacom18