Exclusive interview with new owners of Brit Asia TV


BizAsiaLive.com exclusively broke the story last week about popular channel, Brit Asia TV being taken over by new owners. The move, which surprised many in the industry saw the exit of Jaz Bal and his brother Davy Bal from the channel after nurturing it over nine years and making it one of the biggest UK Asian TV brands. Brit Asia TV is set to be given a new lease of life, with a huge financial backing from the unnamed consortium. Its CEO, Tony Shergill, who was behind the set-up of The Sikh Channel previously, has a wealth of experience in the broadcasting genre. This, however, will be his biggest challenge to maintain and rejuvenate an already established brand in a competitive UK market. BizAsiaLive.com spoke exclusively to Shergill about taking over Brit Asia TV.

Congrats on taking over Brit Asia TV, how long has this process taken for you?
Many thanks for your support. It’s taken around six months to complete the take-over of Brit Asia. It was a competitive process, as there were lots of interested parties, we’re really excited about the future of the channel.

Prior to Brit Asia TV, you’ve worked with a number of other Asian channels, tell us about this?
Yes for almost a decade I’ve been committed to supporting the British Asian community establish a media platform. This started in 2009 when I managed the launch of Sikh Channel. I have setup a further four media channels since then. Establishing these channels has been a passion of mine, as I’m keen to support and promote the cultural identity and voice of British Asians.

Why did you take the decision to taking over Brit Asia TV and not just another UK Asian music channel?
Brit Asia is a strong household brand amongst the Asian community. We know that we can revive the channel from where it is, and take it further than it’s ever gone before. Brit Asia has been going for nine years, and we have some exciting plans for it’s tenth anniversary.

Rumours say you’ve forked out a six figure acquisition fee for Brit Asia TV, was the final price in your favour?
I believe both parties were happy.

When did you realise you wanted to purchase Brit Asia TV?
I didn’t. It just happened.

Tony Shergill, Brit Asia

As you know we’re keen to enhance and boost the ratings of the channel and will inject new energy and drive into the management of the channel to make this happen.

Brit Asia TV has had a rocky time in UK ratings and recently got off from BARB – will it be going back anytime soon?
We’ve consulted with BARB and can confirm our aim to go back on in May. As you know we’re keen to enhance and boost the ratings of the channel and will inject new energy and drive into the management of the channel to make this happen.

What plans have you got to lure back viewers to Brit Asia TV?
Brit Asia still hold a strong audience and a loyal fan base, but watch this space for some new exciting shows.

Rumours in the industry were that the old owners had an alleged dispute with a popular UK Asian record label, hence the introduction of mainstream music videos – how important are the Punjabi music videos to you? Will you be working with all the UK record labels?
We’re excited to work with existing and any new record labels. The goal is to create a channel for everyone to enjoy. To do this we will work hard to meet the needs of different generations, tastes and styles. Punjabi music is very important to us, and so is UK Asian music and more mainstream music. We’re excited to maintain the traditional roots of the channel, it’s important to maintain balance.

The new Brit Asia TV team has new investment by a consortium abroad, can you shed a light on this?
Yes it’s a private consortium who have a passion for the Punjabi music, which they hope remains for generations to come.

With the explosion of new Asian TV channels in the UK, how do plan to hold on to your viewers?
We know our viewers are interested in both quality and talent. That’s what will be underpinning our strategy. In addition to this we will be launching some new shows for all the family to enjoy. We have a loyal viewership, and we will work hard to make our committed viewers happy.

You’re expanding from your current Birmingham base to having studios in London soon, anymore on this?
We’re in a fortunate position to have access to a variety of studios across the UK and we hope to have our secondary London office running within six months.

Final message?
Brit Asia is s platform for the Asian community around the world to showcase there music and achievements given to society.

Thanks to everyone involved in the takeover for your ongoing support, both professionally and personally. I am delighted to take the channel where it belongs – a media leader – showcasing the very best of British Asian talent and skill.

My team are committed to providing a quality broadcast platform to showcase our fantastic culture and heritage and Brit Asia will be a channel for you to be proud of and enjoy.

On a final note, we also have several new opportunities in the team and if you’re interested in playing a part in reviving the channel please email me today on: tony@britasia.tv

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