Anger Management, a big deal for Comedy Central

26 Dec,2012

By Johnson Napier


Comedy channel Comedy Central seems to have struck gold by bagging rights to the newest craze on the sitcom block, Anger Management. So impressed was the network with prospects of this new show starring Charlie Sheen, that it went overboard in acquiring rights to the show.


Ferzad Palia, Senior VP and GM – English Entertainment, Viacom 18 Media Pvt Ltd reveals to MxMIndia what would be the implications of this expensive buy and how they expect the sitcom to break some advertising rules in the English entertainment market.


Going by the buzz that’s being created, the acquisition of Anger Management seems to be the biggest thing that has happened for Comedy Central. How far did you stretch yourself into acquiring the rights for this sitcom? And, what was unique about the whole experience?

When we saw the first 2 episodes of Anger Management at a private screening, we knew that this show is set to be the next big thing on television. We were vindicated when the show broke all ratings records over its first few episodes in the US. It did so well that before we knew it, an unprecedented further 90 episodes were ordered! Charlie Sheen is back… and how! Naturally it was a heavily sought after show. So I must admit that we did need to stretch ourselves to make it happen.


How would you justify the huge spends on the acquisition of this sitcom in a market like India’s that’s still waking up to English entertainment?

You will be surprised that India isn’t waking up to English language content. It already has woken up. And not just the metros, across the top 40 towns and is penetrating deeper at a rapid pace. English is one of the fastest growing languages in India for a variety of reasons. Comedy Central is here to grow the category with a distinctive offering. And as I’ve always mentioned to you, we’re here for the long term, so this fits in perfectly with our ambitions & plans.


Would you be setting new benchmarks where ad rates for Anger Management are concerned?

Yes. It’s a great opportunity for brands to co-own this franchise with us for a longer term. We’re looking at ‘partnerships’ for this show. Going beyond the traditional ‘spot buy’ format. There are tremendous opportunities that we have to allow brands to integrate themselves through the next few months. The positive response we’ve received over the last 24 hours since the announcement is extremely encouraging, to put it mildly.


What is the English Comedy entertainment market like in India at the moment?

We’re extremely happy with the response to Comedy Central India over the last 10 months. We’ve grown the English genre, cut through clutter, received recognition and awards for our brand, content, creative & marketing, have over 100 advertisers on our roster, already the most followed English entertainment channel on Twitter, 8 lakh fans on Facebook, etc, etc… And we’ve only just begun! The market is ripe. And hungry for more, as is clearly evident.


What is the content acquisition plan for Comedy Central going forward into 2013?

Lots of exciting things in store. None that I can reveal currently though.


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