Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN), formerly known as Multi Screen Media, has said the first co-branded television channels developed in partnership with sports broadcaster ESPN will be launched in the Indian subcontinent on January 17.
Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD will launch to join Sony Six and Sony Six HD. The initiative marks the first major steps in the long-term partnership signed between the two parties in October.
Through the collaboration, which will run across India and the Indian subcontinent, ESPN and SPN are seeking to bring new offerings to sports fans including new sports channels and a new multi-sport website and app. The launch of the Sony ESPN channels will result in the rebranding of the existing Sony Kix service.
The Sony ESPN channels will commence operations with the live broadcast of the first tennis grand slam of the year, the Australian Open, which gets underway in Melbourne on January 18.
SPN India chief executive NP Singh said: “As a network, SPN is focused on becoming the first choice in television and digital entertainment. Our collaboration with ESPN is a targeted step in that direction as it helps us link another milestone in our growth trajectory. Not only that, the launch of the Sony ESPN cluster of channels validates our intent to provide stylised, high quality and insightful international sporting content to viewers in India and across the Indian subcontinent.”
ESPN is returning to the Indian subcontinent market having exited in 2012 after ending its joint venture with pay-television broadcaster Star India.