DSPORT aims to build strong Indian connect with new wrestling entertainment show

The show will go on air from 24 August

MUMBAI: Amidst a cricket-dominated sports broadcasting sector, Discovery Communication’s two-year-old sports channel DSPORT is focusing on niche genres. While the channel has been looking at a localisation strategy since the beginning, it is now launching a new wrestling entertainment show Dangal Ke Soorma from 24 August.

Prior to the launch of the show, Lex Sportel MD and CEO RC Venkateish spoke to on the objective of the show, advertisers’ response, marketing strategy as well as the content line up of DSPORT for the rest of the year. He also spoke on the industry issues regarding the impact of the new tariff order and economic slowdown on the channel.

Edited excerpts:

What is your objective behind launching Dangal Ke Soorma? 

So, you know professional wrestling is the most followed sport in India. Since it has a big following in India, we thought of building a show with a strong Indian connect. It was possible to build a local feel for the product. That is why we are investing in this particular genre.

What kind of audience you are targeting for the new show?

The audience that follows pro-wrestling is primarily 15+ male in the 15-30 age group.

How has the response been from advertisers for the show?

We got some very good response. We are currently discussing with advertisers. Hopefully, in the coming week, we will be able to announce who is supporting us.

The marketing strategy is always developed by the in-house team. We are primarily focusing on all the work which is followed by the wrestling fans, a lot of digital activation, social media activation as well as promotions across the various platforms which are followed by fans.

What are the other sports rights you are planning to invest in currently?

We have a wide cache of sports. We cater to different audiences. We cut across genres. We have soccer, golf, water sports, tennis and pro-wrestling.

How has the channel performed in the first quarter of FY 20?

This year has started good. We started the year with Pakistan Super League but we had to take that off the air. We also have International Premium Kabaddi League which we showcased on our network. Then we are now launching our own show. So, it has been a good six months in terms of sponsors and properties that we have been showcasing on our channel. It has also been a hectic year in terms of new developments. It has been quite an interesting phase of learning.

What was the impact of new tariff order on the channel?

Regarding the channel, distribution is fairly extensive and the pricing is also pretty reasonable. Overall the package has also been well accepted for its price point.

It has been two years since the launch. Has the channel seen expected growth? How are you planning to expand your reach?

Yes, it has performed well. The objectives of the channel have been well met and exceeded.

As far as traditional TV is concerned, we are reaching almost all platforms. We are already on digital platforms like Jio, Airtel and Vodafone. Whatever new opportunities are there for distribution, we will exploit that.

Are you facing any difficulties in selling inventory due to an economic slowdown?

There has been sluggishness in the economy that impacted everybody. I won’t say we are less or more impacted. Overall the fact is, the economy is soft and the spending is also soft. So, it impacts everybody.

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