VisionTV, CBC push for multicultural audiences

Canada's multi-faith broadcaster is set to launch a new grab for South Asian viewers on Saturdays, while the country's pubcaster is going multi-lingual with its hockey celebrations.

VisionTV is strengthening its bid to capture South Asian audiences, while the CBC is set to mark a first by broadcasting hockey online in Mandarin, Hindi and Cantonese.

Starting on March 1, VisionTV is revamping its Saturday sked and rebranding it as Desi Vision. Previously, VisionTV had devoted its Saturday programming to Sikh, Hindu and Muslim Canadians. The changes will be followed by a print and outdoor ad campaign promoting Desi Vision. Now, the net’s introducing weekly Bollywood feature films (at 4 pm and 1 am ET/1 pm and 10 pm PT), along with the magazine series Bollywood Gupshup, in an effort to cast a wider net for South Asian audiences. It has also moved mainstays such as Des Pardes and Aikam into prime time.

VisionTV COO/SVP programming Mark Prasuhn says the decision to enhance the Saturday lineup ‘is a sign of our continued commitment to this fast-growing community.’ South Asian Canadians represent one of the country’s largest visible minorities, with a population that is expected to approach two million by 2017.

The CBC will make select games of its annual Hockey Day In Canada available online in Mandarin, Hindi and Cantonese at CBC Sports director of production Joel Darling says the initiative is an effort to reach out to new audiences, while the web ‘provides us with an ideal platform to provide additional language options.’

The eighth broadcast celebration, sponsored by Tim Hortons, begins Saturday Feb. 9 at noon ET/11 am CTV as Ron MacLean goes rinkside live at the Winkler Recreation Complex in Winkler, Manitoba.

At 3 pm ET, the Detroit-Toronto match-up will be available in Mandarin, with University of Toronto students Yutong Zaho and Zhen Jiang calling the game. At 7 pm ET, the Montreal-Ottawa game will be available in Hindi with Priya Sharma, a Sheridan College broadcast journalism student, along with Sapna Singh, also from Sheridan College, calling the action. And at 10 pm ET, the Colorado-Vancouver game will be available online in Cantonese, with Alex Chum of Omni Television handling the play-by-play alongside Bill Tang.