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Viacom 2001 -- VH1 channel to target Gen-X 

Sibabrata Das  
Mumbai, April 11: Viacom Inc, which owns and operates the MTV and Nickelodeon channels, will launch VH1 in the country but only after the PAS-10 satellite becomes operational.

As PAS-10 is expected to start by early next year, VH1's entry can happen only after that. "We don't want to migrate to any other satellite. We have a long term contract with PanAmSat. We plan to bring in VH1 by early next year," MTV India vice-president, network development (also licensing and merchandising), Sanjiv Hiremath told The Financial Express.

MTV will get the VH1 (UK) and not beam VH1 (US) as it will be logistically easier, Hiremath said. "Besides, the player list of VH1 (UK) will be more in tune with the market in this part of the world," he added.

VH1, aimed at the Generation-X, will target the Asian market. "While MTV India has localised content, VH1 will be a pure international channel. We will widen our audience and advertising base with our two-channel bouquet," Hiremath said.

MTV plans to digitalise the channel by early next year. This will allow more transponder space and make possible the entry of other channels from the Viacom stable.

"We are sorting out the technological and logistic issues," Hiremath said.Though MTV India managing director Alex Kuruvilla said no final decision had been taken yet, he admitted the company was exploring the feasibility of getting in its other properties. "We have many channels which we can bring into the country," he said.

Viacom dominates the youth television audience in the world. While the Nickelodeon cable channel has a strong hold on the 2-to-11-year-old viewer, MTV is the most-watched channel in the 15-35 age group.

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