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Discovery furthers expansion drive with Indian sports channel

International media and entertainment company Discovery Communications has today (Monday) launched a new sports television channel in India.

Discovery said the DSport channel will broadcast 4,000 hours of live content annually, across sports like horse racing, football, golf, rugby and cycling.

The Forbes website said the channel is also currently in advanced talks for select “high quality” cricket events in addition to other sports.

DSport will broadcast to 35m Indian households from today and will be available via a subscription model via both direct-to-home and cable in high and standard definition.

“This [4,000 hours of live sports content] is three to four times more than the competing channels,” Karan Bajaj, senior vice-president and general manager of Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, told Forbes.

“Discovery Communications has been a dominant factual entertainment brand and has enjoyed a leadership position in India for 20 years. Now, we are also looking at other areas like sports and kids’ entertainment.”

RC Venkateish, former managing director of pan-Asian broadcaster ESPN Star Sports and former chief executive of pay-television provider Dish TV India, will work closely with DSport, with a focus on content acquisition.

“If the sport is popular, the need for it is unmet and if there is a chance of disruption, then it is a home-run for us,” Bajaj added, when asked about rights strategy.