After announcing its intention to launch a 24-hour world cinema channel earlier this year, NDTV Lumiere has given the channel a soft launch on October 10 and is gearing up for the official launch in late November or early December 2008.

Established as a joint venture between broadcaster NDTV, Sunil Doshi and Manmohan Shetty, NDTV Lumière is a platform for contemporary world cinema in India.

Over the last six months, NDTV Lumiere has been building its brand by releasing world movies in cinemas across the country. It has also released around ten titles on home video via Excel Home Videos, with another 14 titles expected to be released over the next fortnight.

Doshi said: 'We have a catalogue of about 500 films now which are predominantly European and our focus remains non-Hollywood films. We also plan to release films direct-to-TV as premieres including Ingmar Bergman's last film Saraband.'

The NDTV Lumiere channel will be available on analogue and digital platforms as a pay channel with tie-ups so far with cable carrier Hathway and negotiations underway with other local cable operators as well as DTH platforms.

The channel will have 12 hours of original programming on a repeat cycle. Its catalogue includes films by Fatih Akin, Aki Kaurismäki, Pedro Almodovar, Emir Kusturica, Wong-Kar Wai, Abbas Kiarostami, Federico Fellini, François Truffaut, Ingmar Bergman, Louis Malle and Claude Chabrol.