An interesting aspect about Discovery Travel & Living - the third channel from Discovery Networks India - has been its rather quiet entry into viewer homes on October 18, which was its official launch day.
Discovery did not go to town with huge billboards or full-page ads or in-your-face banner campaigns during launch. What it chose to do instead, was to keep the affair as low-key as possible and concentrate on getting its distribution right.
"As of today, the channel is available in 35 towns that have a population of one-million or above," says Rahul Johri, vice-president, ad sales, Discovery Networks India.
However, if this 'silent' launch implies that the network will not emphasise much on advertising or marketing-related activities for the channel, then the truth is far from it.
Channel executives say, Discovery has plans to unleash a multi-media campaign for the lifestyle channel in a week or ten days from now, but presently the network is concentrating on educating media planners, buyers and cable operators with regard to the product.
This, however, is being done in a unique manner with the help of flamenco dancers, who have been specially flown into the country for the purpose. "The activity is on at agencies in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore," says Johri.
The mainline campaign, which has been conceived and executed by Vyas Giannetti Creative (VGC), will span two months - November and December. It will constitute the first phase of the network's brand building efforts for the channel. Ground activities, promotions, use of allied media such as mobile phones in addition to advertising will be part of the exercise to build awareness.
The tag line of the channel is 'Get a life' and the logo is of a bright red colour in contrast to the blue of sister channel, Discovery.
Atul Hegde, vice-president, Vyas Giannetti Creative, maintains that the difference in colour scheme was intentional to set the brand apart from Discovery channel. "We have used an international colour palette. And, to ensure that the brand has a distinct identity, the words 'travel & lifestyle' have been highlighted," he says.
The second phase of the brand building exercise will kick-off next year, and special emphasis will be placed on not having "long breaks from media". "The effort will be a sustained one with a long-term objective in mind," says Hegde.
This emphasis on long-term media activity on Discovery's part is not without reason. Internationally, the network has identified lifestyle as a key genre that it would like to promote, and to this end has three channels - Discovery Travel & Living (for men and women), Discovery Home & Health (for women) and Discovery Real Time (for men) - which form the core of its new initiative Discovery Lifestyle Networks.
Discovery Travel & Living is the first one to go off the block, and India is the market that has been selected for its launch. The channel will be rolled out in other parts of the world next year, following which Discovery Home & Health and Discovery Real Time will be unleashed.
The advertiser response to Discovery Travel & Living, says Johri of Discovery, has been good, given the fact that the test signals of the channel were available since August this year. "So advertisers did get an opportunity to view the channel," he says. "And right now, we have 10-12 advertisers, who have agreed to put their brands on the channel."
These include General Motors (for brand Chevrolet), LG, Samsung, Golden Palms Resort, UP Tourism and Skoda Auto among others, and the gameplan is to get premium brands as opposed to regular brands on the channel. "We are targeting an urban, upscale audience, after all," says Johri. "And commercial time will not go beyond 9 minutes per hour."
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