The new kid in the block, Channel 7 aims to have mixed identities of BBC and Discovery.
Explaining this strategy to agencyfaqs!, Siddhartha Gupta, director, Jagran Television, says, "While as a news channel we want to cover news like BBC, educating and keeping our viewers informed like Discovery is also on our priority."
Gupta was hinting about the host of non-news programmes that will be aired on the channel by the end of this month. The channel will have seven weekly crime-based shows by April-end apart from 'Giraftar', which is a daily crime bulletin and currently on air..
Gupta says, "For the daily feed of crime developments, we have Giraftar, but these seven new shows will focus on different aspects of crime and its investigation.:
He cites the examples of white-collar crimes, or the use of forensic science in investigation. "There are several incidents which happen before and after the crime, which generally gets unnoticed. In these shows, we will certainly highlight these developments apart from the psychoanalysis of crime," he adds.
Gupta doesn't believe in the general perception that news channels are skewed towards the male audience. Channel 7 has, in fact, lined a up a few special programmings for the female viewers, which includes cookery and lifestyle shows. This is another initiative of the channel towards non-news programming.
In terms of content and news, Gupta feels that the biggest strength of Channel 7 will be Jagran's network of journalists. Including print and television, Jagran Group has a battery of 3,300 reporters around the country. Out of this, 300 are exclusively for the television venture. 'This will increase our ability to dig up news, which generally doesn't get coverage in the national news bulletin."
Interestingly, the genre of news channels in India has been divided into two broad segments. One which is always in the race of getting the news first, and the second one which believes in the deeper analysis of the news even if they are not the first one to cover it.
When asked about Channel 7's strategy, Gupta says, "We will preferably follow the middle path. While as a news channel, we cannot say that we won't feel high on breaking a news, but certainly we will also want to be analytical in our approach and bring in front the hidden facts of the events or the development.
The biggest challenge for a new channel is to increase the sampling among the viewers. On this, Gupta says, "We have always believed that the success of a television network is equally dependent on distribution and marketing as it is on content. So, to increase sampling among the viewers, we have not only concentrated on a stronger distribution network, we have also been very aggressive with our marketing."
He adds, "We have used our home publication to promote the channel across the Hindi speaking markets. In addition, we have a large number of hoardings put up in Mumbai."
Regarding distribution, the channel claims that it has already reached 15 million homes and hopes to reach 28 million homes by the end of this month.
Jagran Group has invested around Rs 70 crore on the channel and Gupta is firm with the belief that if every thing goes right, the channel will break even in 24-36 months. Channel 7 is banking on the great rapport, it shares with the advertisers due to its print publication. Gupta says, "Our print publication generates Rs 300-400 crore every year as advertising revenues, but we have not clubbed the the print business with the television venture."
He adds, "In spite of this, we have managed to bring all kinds of advertisers to the channel starting from high-end brands such as Hyundai and Toyota to a lifestyle products such as Red Tape to many FMCG products on this channel."
The channel is also making every move to bring in local advertisers and has a special time-slot for them. At 6 pm, there is a show called Swadesh, which covers news and special stories and interviews from states and non-metros.
Gupta is confident about Channel 7 emerging as a consistent number two channel within a year. © 2005 agencyfaqs!