Hollywood fare game in Hindi

Bindass has a launch budget of $12 million

Hollywood films, comedies and extreme sports will be at the programming core of Bindass, a Hindi-language entertainment channel launching next month via India’s UTV and Malaysia’s Astro Measat.

Bindass has a launch budget of $12 million plus $66 million for the first three years of operation, large by Indian standards.

Target demo is people 15-34, who make up 42% of Indian TV viewers.

The backers unveiled the channel Wednesday but did not give a definitive start date.

Imported content will be supplemented by Indian-made shows including “Shakira,” a female action hero skein aimed at primetime; and “Lagegi,” a current affairs-themed standup comedy show taped before a live audience less than 48 hours before going to air.

Plans are also under way for a reality show, “Space Yatra,” to find India’s first space tourist.

Bindass CEO Zarina Mehta said the web will avoid music, soaps and lifestyle shows.

UTV and Astro aim to develop Bindass into much wider brand. They have launched three websites and linked with mobile operators to deliver standup comedy and street magic to phone users, plus links to UTV’s Indiagames company. One site is intended to become a social networking nexus for college students.

In a later phase, Bindass is expected to extend into retailing, opening Bindass cafes, and to launch three subsidiary channels, possibly including other regional language variants.

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