Excerpts from the interaction:
CI: What was the need to create another sports channel?
Prasana Krishnan (PK): As a company, we have been picking up broadcasting rights of a lot of sports. Along with cricket, our focus has been on sports like tennis, football, hockey and golf. For these sports a substantial amount of the matches happen simultaneously (mostly over the weekend) which leads to scheduling issues. In order to not lose any of the live coverage, we decided to have two sports channels.
CI: Will Neo Sports and Neo Prime have differentiated content?
PK: Neo Prime is focussed around those sports that are gearing up or already have the option of broadcasting the content in High Definition. For Prime, we are also looking towards prime-time sporting shows/tournaments on this channel. On days that have only one live sporting event, Neo Prime will get the preference as of now. That said, Neo Sports continues to be in our plans and will have its share of exclusive content.
CI: Does Neo have plans to bring in some live cricketing events?
PK: Certainly. We were the first channel to move to a 24-hour cricket channel and just because we lost our BCCI broadcasting rights to ESPN-STAR, we will not give up on the sport. Currently, running a cricket-centric channel didn't make sense to us, as the content we had was not enough. In the future, we will be looking to bring in cricketing events, and run it on the channels we have currently.
CI: How big is Euro 2012 for Neo? How have you marketed it?
PK: It is the biggest sporting property for Neo this quarter. In fact, Euro 2012 is one of the biggest sporting properties worldwide during the year. We have been marketing the tournament as a part of our 'Summer of Sports' campaign along with the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup (hockey), French Open (tennis) and the PGA Tour (golf) over the past two to three months. We've also got an individual campaign on air specifically for the tournament which has helped us build excitement.