Digital Spy are reporting that Watch India, a subscription-based Internet TV channel with a focus on Indian programing, has been a great success: “In its first month, it managed 100,000 unique viewers, with over 33,000 coming from the UK alone.”
Watch India has a particularly strong position regarding its appeal to ex-pat Indians. While I have no knowledge of the availability of good Indian television content outside of India, it’s likely that by offering programs direct, Watch India can provide a wider range of content — including more recent productions — than that the limited offerings of cable or satellite television. If the programming on Watch India can mirror content “back home”, and offer it worldwide, then I can only see its popularity growing, and also the possibility of other foreign language TV portals being developed.
There’s certainly a lot of potential in genre- or subject-based internet TV channels, especially for smaller producers of niche content. By drawing them all together in one place their audience could increase dramatically, even more so if content can be made available outside of the country of origin. It also gives more of a “voice” to content providers that may be overlooked by the major networks and players in the increasingly competitive online Internet TV arena.
Sports or hobby focussed portals, like fishing or painting, would be a good starting point. One or two programs available to watch online on their own may not generate much interest, but if a handful of content providers joined together, then all fisherman or artists may point their browsers in that direction.
It also makes online broadcasting more lucrative, by sharing the costs of running and hosting the portal, and also increasing advertising revenue due to increased viewer numbers. As the Digital Spy article says, niche programming “provides advertisers with a cost effective medium to reach very specific, targeted audiences.”