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Hollywood studio to launch 2 English channels

September 24, 2009 14:23 IST

Backed by US-based Hollywood film company Lionsgate Production, Hong Kong-based Tiger Gate Entertainment is all set to launch two English movie channels called Thrill and KIX in the Rs 250-crore (Rs 2.5 billion) domestic English movies market on television. India has around 10 English movie channels with STAR Movies and HBO, the two leaders in terms of revenue and viewership.

Thrill will mainly showcase film and television content in the action and thriller/horror genres, while KIX will broadcast action and reality shows, both  acquired from round the world and produced only for the channel.

This is not the first example of a major Hollywood studio involved in the launch of an English movie channel in India. STAR Movies parentage lies with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp that also owns Hollywood Studio 20th Century Fox.

Another Hollywood major Warner Brothers are part promoters of HBO, while Sony Pix movies channel is promoted by Columbia Tristar.

"We will float an Indian subsidiary that will apply for the necessary approvals on our behalf. We are looking at launching Thrill and KIX next year initially on the Direct-to-Home and digital cable platforms," William Pfeiffer, Tiger Gate's CEO told Business Standard.

Pfeiffer is in the country as part of delegation of Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA), the apex body of leading international broadcasters.

Tiger Gate is the Asian media venture started by Pfeiffer and Paul Presburger and backed by the assets and resources of Lionsgate, which is listed on New York Stock Exchange.

Pfeiffer declined to comment on the investments required for its two channels.

"Obviously it will be running into millions of dollars but I cannot disclose the amount. The main cost for us will be programming and distribution," he said.

Pfeiffer has been instrumental in launching Sony Pictures and Disney in the Asian film entertainment market and has launched more than 25 successful Asian channels, including AXN, Animax, Celestial Movies, and Sony Entertainment Television.

Tiger Gate is currently involved in negotiations with leading Hollywood studios for content. "Lionsgate already has a library of over 12,000 motion pictures. We are developing some content ourselves but we are also in talks with studios to acquire movies in the thriller and horror genre," Pfeiffer said.

Lionsgate Production has been known for some blockbuster movies like Rambo  and Monsters' Ball.

Ashish Sinha in New Delhi
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