Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 02-09-2011

Indian Premier League (IPL) twenty20 cricket coverage will be one of the star offerings of a new Indian premium sports TV channel to be launched in 2012 by Multi Screen Media (MSM).

As Sony’s new music channel Mix goes on air, Mat Jit Singh, head of MSM, the owners of Sony in India, told Live Mint that having the rights to India’s hottest sporting property has spurred another network initiative.

“It [IPL] is the biggest thing you can have in sports in India. We are looking for other properties which have the same calibre, with which we can complement the IPL programming… We’d like to launch our sports channel by next year, provided that we get our hands on the right properties – some of which are very competitive [to get] because they are with other broadcasters or because they haven’t been licensed to India as yet,” Mat Jit Singh, chief executive, MSM is quoted as saying in Live Mint.

He added that Neo Sports, which owns the rights to all Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) matches until 2014, is also part of MSM’s distribution set up.

As of 1 September, all of the channels run by MSM – such as Sony Entertainment Television (SET), SAB, Max, Pix, and Mix - will include the Sony logo on air, to ensure viewers are aware they are part of a stronger Sony Network brand.

In the general entertainment space, SET has ranked number 2 in terms of audience share for the past fortnight, with its show Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) rating among India’s top five Hindi shows.