Times Group plans three speciality channels

By , agencyfaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | January 07, 2008
One of the speciality channels will be focused entirely on entertainment news

The Times & #BANNER1 & # Group is planning to launch three speciality channels between mid-2008 and early 2009. Two of the channels will be launched this year, and one in 2009.

Suresh Bala, chief executive officer, Zoom, informs us that one of the speciality channels will be focused entirely on entertainment news. This will help further diversify the genre on which Zoom is concentrating. The channel will be marketed in such a way that its identity will not clash with that of Zoom. Bala, however, refused to divulge any details about the other two channels. He said all three channels are targeted at an urban audience in the age group of 14-45 years in SEC A segment.

Is the Times Group planning a general entertainment channel as well? Bala says vehemently that it has no plans to launch a GEC anytime in the future. He says, "The GEC segment has already become much cluttered. So many channels have been launched and many more are awaited. We aim to concentrate solely on the speciality segments. The reason is the demographics of the country, which have been changing rapidly. GECs are a hit currently because of the number of single TV homes in the country. It's estimated that till 2005, 97 per cent of homes in India were single TV homes. But according to industry estimates, this number is likely to dip drastically by 2014, when 52 per cent of Indian cities will be metro cities.

"Therefore, there is going to be a huge rise in the number of affluent and nuclear families that will have a higher standard of living and mobile lifestyles. Multiple TV homes will automatically start to dominate and on-demand viewing will become popular. If trends in mature markets such as North America are to be believed, the attractiveness of GECs will continuously decline with the rise in multiple TV homes. To give an example, not a single GEC has been launched in North America in the last 10 years and there exist close to 400-500 speciality genre channels."

The plan to launch three channels is a logical step ahead for the Times Group in its effort to diversify its television portfolio. Zoom, the group's first offering, has been performing moderately. The channel was earlier positioned in the lifestyle segment, but has been concentrating on Bollywood and glamour of late.

Commenting on Zoom's performance, Bala says, "At the moment, there is nothing very remarkable about Zoom's performance. Although many entertainment channels have been launched in the market, Zoom's GRPs (gross rating points) have constantly hovered (at) around 30." Zoom recorded 25 GRPs for Week 51 in 2007.