MUMBAI: Multi Screen Media’s (formerly Sony Entertainment Television) vision of having a sports channel in its portfolio is close to fructification as the channel has named its soon-to-be launched channel as Six, say sources.
Sources also say that Nitesh Kripalani is tipped to be the business head of the sports channel. He is currently serving as the network’s vice-president business development and digital/syndication.
Once launched, Six will be the 11th channel in the sports broadcasting genre, which is currently dominated by two main networks ESPN Star Sports and Zee Network owned Taj Television. Harish Thawani promoted Neo Sports Broadcast has been struggling for survival ever since its contract was terminated by the BCCI for non-payment of dues.
Between ESS and Taj, the two sports networks own and operate seven channels including ESPN, Star Sports and Star Cricket of the former and Ten Sports, Ten Cricket, Ten Action+ and recently launched Ten Golf belonging to the latter. Neo operates two channels – Neo Cricket and Neo Sports with pubcaster DD Sports completing the list.
MSM at the moment has the Indian Premier League (IPL) which currently airs on Max besides NBA and FA Cup, both of which air on Pix. The three properties alongwith New Zealand cricket rights are expected to be transferred to the new channel.
The network, which currently has five channels in its bouquet, is expected to bid strongly for the India cricket rights which alongwith IPL will give it the much needed live cricket content to launch the channel.
Interestingly, MSM president network sales Rohit Gupta had in an interview with Indiantelevision.com clearly stated that the network is “not going to make irrational bids but evaluate properties from a profit perspective”. He also bemoaned the fact that some of the boards are overvalued and hinted at some price rationalisation.
Recently, Euro RSCG was awarded the creative mandate for Six.