Reliance Broadcast Network Ltd (RBNL), a Reliance Group company, is set to increase the foothold of BIG RTL Thrill, its joint-venture action channel, in Delhi and Mumbai.
Thrill, where RBNL and Europe's RTL Group have equal stakes, was initially launched in Uttar Pradesh. It targets male audiences (15-44 years), with dubbed action entertainment in Hindi. The channel offers reality shows, action series, wrestling, extreme sports, game shows and action movies.
The test run is on in these two cities and the official launch will happen midweek. The company has signed distribution deals with In Digital, Hathway Cable & Datacom, Digicable, 7 Star, JPR Spacevision, ABS, Siticable, Home Cable and STAR Broadband. It aims to reach at least 6.5 million households across both cities.
When the channel was launched in UP, Tarun Katial, chief executive officer of RBNL, had told Business Standard the plan was to reach audiences across places with more than a million population in the Hindi-speaking markets (HSMs), in a phased manner. After Phase-II of digitisation, the company will push the distribution in these places. "It is a good strategy to launch in cities where digitisation has already happened, as it will help the company to increase the reach without shelling out much on carriage fee. However, it will have to market the channel well to gain audience share," a senior media buyer of an agency negotiating ad rates on the channel said.
At present, only AXN is a pure action entertainment channel, but in English. While AXN is contemplating a Hindi feed, Thrill will have a free run, as in UP. UTV Action is another dubbed channel in Hindi but offers only movies. Other English entertainment channels also offer a few shows or films in the action genre.
In UP, claims RBNL, the ratings of Thrill were better than other male-targeted channels and news channels. Katial said, "BIG RTL Thrill has performed excellently in the regional market of Uttar Pradesh, consistently delivering strong numbers. With its distinctive international dubbed content, it has already outperformed other regional male-targeted channels, and now makes its entry into the metros of Mumbai and Delhi. It also has plans to further grow to other key markets in the Hindi-speaking belt in a phased manner."