Broadcast of cricket matches to begin in October 2006 May 16, 2006

Nimbus to launch three sports channels

Cricinfo staff

Star struck: Indian viewers will have yet another channel to tune to © Getty Images
Nimbus Communications Ltd, one of India's leading sports marketing and production companies, has announced that it will launch three India-centric 24-hour pay-TV channels between October 2006 and September 2007. The first channel will be wholly devoted to cricket while the remaining two, to be launched in 2007, will cater to sports entertainment and sports news.

Nimbus recently acquired the broadcast rights for all international matches to be played in India for four years for US$612 million, which means that all these matches will be shown in one of the new channels. Broadcasting is expected to commence as early as October this year, starting with the Afro-Asia Cup to be held in India.

"India is a slightly senseless country when it comes to cricket... but filling it up creatively is a challenge," Harish Thawani, Nimbus's chairman, told AFP. He added that the channel would also include cricket-themed game and chat shows.

In an almost saturated Indian market, Thawani sounded confident that the new channel would stay afloat in the face of competition. "It is a crowded space, but we intend to redefine the space," he told The Hindustan Times. "There are a new set of rights opening up shortly."

Nimbus's cricket channel will have a footprint extending to other Asian nations including Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and possibly the Middle East. However, it will not operate in Pakistan, as Nimbus has licensed the rights there to GEO TV.