Formed two years ago, Buena Vista Television India is one of the few regular suppliers of programming to the government network Doordarshan.
A co-venture with Modi group, BITVI sources product from Disney and other suppliers, dubs when necessary and sells the airtime. It’s run by Pratik Basu, formerly with EMI and advertising agencies Hindustan Thompson and Lintas.
Doordarshan airs the half-hour Hindi Disney Club program on Sunday mornings, featuring segments with two local hosts, interspersed with dubbed Disney toons. The web also unveils a Disney pic, under the banner Hollywood Movie Premier, every Friday night.
The license fee is 20,000 rupees ($640) an hour. The advertising revenue on the Disney programming is “stabilizing satisfactorily,” says Ashoke Aggrwal, general manager, acquisition and production at Home Communications, the Modi filmed-product acquisition division formed three years ago. Home has a library of more than 300 titles, many of which are popular Indian titles such as the Amitabh Bachchan starrer “Amar, Akbar, Antony.”
Aggrwal is building a library of Hindi feature films, animation and other programming to service the upcoming Modi pay channels. “Being self-sufficient in terms of control and quality of software is essential in the long run, besides being more economical,” he says. One major work in the pipeline is a co-production with a foreign partner on a lavish mythological series.
BITVI also handles every aspect of the huge dubbing operation of Disney films, except for the mixing, which, for quality control reasons, is done in LA.