Exclusive interview with UMP Stars Nikhil Gandhi

Nikhil Gandhi of UMP Stars
Nikhil Gandhi of UMP Stars

With UMP Stars making a splash in the UK market, joining sister station, UMP Movies, BizAsia caught up with Nikhil Gandhi, Executive Director- Youth Channels, Media Networks, Disney UTV to find out more about the channel and what plans UMP Stars has to lure viewers in an already hugely competitive market.

UMP Stars is nearly a year old in India ��� how has the response been there?
We are just about completing a year and we are happy to share that the response to the channel in India has been phenomenal. The fact that we became the No. 1 player in the Bollywood entertainment genre within just 4 weeks of launch, bears testimony to the fact. As a premium specialty entertainment channel that caters exclusively to Bollywood, we�۪ve always made it a point to create innovative and original content which has in turn been very well received and appreciated by audiences nationwide.

Has it been difficult to differentiate UMP Stars in India to the other channels in the same genre?
As mentioned earlier, the channel�۪s original and innovative content has been its core differentiator. Our brand promise is to get viewers closer to their favourite superstars & the shows & properties we create are a manifestation of that promise. We are by far the most glamorous Bollywood channel in India & exclusively positioned as ‘The official channel of Bollywood’.

What kind of response are you expecting from viewers in the UK to UMP Stars?
The UK is a vital market for us as it has a large South Asian diaspora who are avid Bollywood lovers. With the launch of UMP STARS, we�۪re expecting a very good response. UMP Stars will complement the other offering from our bouquet- UMP Movies, which is doing successfully well in the market.

UMP Movies has done incredibly well for you in the UK in such small time ��� how do you feel about this?
It�۪s a great feeling. As mentioned earlier, the UK is a very important market for us and it gives us immense pride to have accomplished so much success in such little time.

Both channels are Bollywood orientated ��� how will they differ in programming?
Both channels cater solely to Bollywood. However, the key differentiator is the fact that while UMP Movies showcases Bollywood movies purely, UMP Stars caters to Bollywood Entertainment as a whole & has a spread of specialty entertainment which include Bollywood shows, Bollywood music, Bollywood news, Bollywood events & much more.

In India, you concentrate on movie magazine programming and films on UMP Stars ��� will you be showing films on UMP Stars too?

Do you see UMP Stars sitting in the music genre or general entertainment genre in the UK?
No. UMP Stars is a general entertainment channel with the variety of content it has to offer.

You have fewer primetime shows than other channels, will you be filling rest of the airtime with music playlists?
Music is an important ingredient for a channel that has to offer wholesome Bollywood entertainment. We have a lot to offer in our prime time slots & music will play across the day as part of our music shows.

Will UMP Stars be simulcasting with India with its programming and on-air graphics?
Yes we will maintain the same schedule as the India beam except the content as per ofcom regulations.

How are you planning to promote UMP Stars in the UK?
Multimedia campaign across outdoor, TV and the online space asking audiences to ‘Touch Feel Believe’ the official channel of Bollywood.

Will sales for the channel be handled by Sky Media like UMP Movies?

Have you got any plans to include local Asian adverts rather than just the mainstream commercials from Sky Media on both channels?
Our advertising sales is handled by Sky Media and if it makes strategic sense, we may start opening the channel to local Asian advertisers.

Will UMP Stars remain a permanently free channel?

Are you launching UMP Stars in the USA/Canada?
UTV Stars is available in the UAE, Australia and Malaysia & now in UK. We will expand to other territories of the globe in the next 18 months.

Where do you see UMP Stars and UMP Movies in the UK in a year from now?
After the successful launch of UMP Movies, we look forward to a grand entry of UMP Stars in the UK. Once both channels settle in, the next step would be to acquire/produce content specifically for our audiences in the UK.

BizAsia would like to thank Nikhil Gandhi for the exclusive insight into the channel. UMP Stars can be viewed free on Sky Digital channel 853.

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