seems to be catching up with the present. A year after its repositioning, The History Channel claims to have moved forward and made its presence felt in the English entertainment genre.
Carrying forward its new initiatives, the channel is profiling some of the greatest rock acts of all time such as Pink Floyd, The Doors, Santana and Aerosmith, with concerts, interviews and elusive music videos. The series is expected to hit the airwaves mid-May.
"The History Channel is poised for a strong season with the premiere of our entertaining new series, 'History Rocks', a foot tapping account of rock legends that brings together special concerts, documentaries, videos and interviews from performers and bands," says Rajesh Sheshadri, V-P, marketing, The History Channel.
In May 2006, 'The History Channel' had announced a new strategic direction in India and activated a shift into the entertainment genre, with the tag line, 'An Entertaining Channel that Brings History to Life'.
The channel is also arranging to play records by the rock legends at different places in the four metros before the launch of the show to create awareness among its target audience.
That's not all; the channel has bigger plans for its audience this summer. In the pipeline are new long running series, 'Reilly: Ace of Spies', starring Sam Neil, 'Jewel In the Crown', a winner of many prestigious international awards, 'Yes Minister' and entertaining movies such as 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame', 'Story of David', starring Timothy Bottoms & Jane Seymour, and 'Age of Treason' with Art Malik. An adventurous new series, 'Lost Evidence', which recounts moments from key battles in the European and Pacific using recently unearthed reconnaissance photos taken during actual battle and exciting new episodes of 'Dogfights' and 'Modern Marvels' are sure to spice up the programming line-up further.
In the last couple of months, the channel has been showcasing a mix of Indian and international content. Some of the recent stellar performers have been 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' featuring Jeremy Brett, 'Sharpe' starring Sean Bean of 'Golden Eye' and 'Lord of the Rings' fame and 'Kennedy' starring Martin Sheen. In fact, in its efforts to bond better with the local community, the channel's India specific programme, 'Bollywood Bosses', was a good example of effective marketing.
Sheshadri says, "Our integrated on-air, online and on-ground initiatives have been instrumental in the channel's success and have helped us make our viewers experience history like never before. For example, for our 'Bollywood Bosses' series, we tied up with PVR Cinemas, which created enormous consumer involvement. Our SMS based contest, 'Boss of Bollywood', was one of the best received contests ever done by the channel. We've constantly strived to provide our audiences with entertaining viewing options and advertisers with innovative platforms to fully and effectively engage their customers. This is reflected in the incredible channel shares and validates the support shown by our advertising partners."
The channel currently has a mix of 10:90 of local and international content.
"I don't think that people come to us to watch Indian content," says Sheshadri.
So, what is bringing people to The History Channel, when history is usually considered a mundane subject by a nation which learns its history by rote and dismisses its history teachers as losers?
"History is all about story-telling. And who doesn't like stories, especially when they are presented well. The History Channel is all about epic people, places and events," asserts Sheshadri, an alumnus of TAPMI, Manipal.
The channel's turnaround could be the result of two of its properties, 'Dogfights' and 'Shootout', both of which have managed to create top of mind recall with audiences throughout the country in the last quarter. The channel is also attracting eyeballs from two of its movie properties, 'Double F' and 'Jumbo Movies', the weekend movies on popular figures from the past.
Is the channel really an out and out family entertainment channel? "No, we are only addressing one kind of audience, 25+ male. We don't offer anything for women or kids," says Sheshadri.
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