Movie nets rev up Indian TV market

Sony to launch film net in Feb.

Competition among India’s tube operators is set to intensify with the launch of two movie channels next month.

Sony’s Indian subsid, Sony Entertainment Television, will launch a Hollywood movie channel christened SET Pix, in mid-February. Local mogul Subroto Roy’s Sahara One Network will launch Bollywood film channel Filmy on Feb. 12.

SET Pix is expected to carry titles from the Sony Pictures Entertainment, Columbia and MGM libraries, currently telecast in India by HBO. Sony’s “Spider-Man” and its sequel were among the few recent Hollywood pictures to achieve big numbers at the Indian B.O.

Film fans already are served by HBO, News Corp’s Star Movies and Subhash Chandra’s Zee Studio.

Filmy will showcase Sahara One’s extensive library of films, except those produced and distributed by affiliate Sahara One Motion Pictures.

As a Bollywood film channel, it faces competition from three existing Indian movie channels: News Corp.’s Star Gold, Sony’s SET Max and Zee Cinema, operated by Subhash Chandra’s ZeeTV conglom.

Movie channels currently enjoy 12% of Indian viewership but account for only 6% of pay TV revenues, according to IndianTelevision.com.

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