afaqs!

Colors eyes place among Top 3 GECs in 12 months

By Sangeeta Tanwar , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | July 04, 2008
Disruptive content, intensive marketing and distribution to do the trick for the new general entertainment channel

Colors, the & #BANNER1 & # new general entertainment channel from Viacom 18, is going to be launched on July 21. Viacom18 is the joint venture between Viacom Inc. and Network18.

Colors will be the 10th channel in the general entertainment channel (GEC) space. The clutter in the segment gives rise to the question: What will be the one big thing that sets Colors apart from its competitors? Rajesh Kamat, chief executive officer, Colors, has a ready answer: "Differentiated disruptive content, unparalleled scale of innovation and marketing, and a strong distribution strategy - the three combined will see the channel carve a niche for itself in the GEC space."

Kamat claims, "The channel aims to figure among the top three GECs in the next 12 months. This is really possible - the gap between the third and fourth GECs is large. There are fluctuations and close fights for the No. 1 and No. 2 positions, so we will strive to be right there on the top."

Kamat explains that Viacom successfully tread a similar path in the past, when it placed MTV and Nick in the lead. Colors has lined up a mix of fiction, drama, mythology and reality, peppered with a strong dose of Bollywood, to ensure its sampling.

Kamat adds, "Nobody has a set formula to hit the bull's eye. Efforts have been made to see what's clicking with the audience. Our aim is to initially achieve 100 GRPs in the sampling phase. Initially, the channel will be an encrypted pay channel with a free to air window for about three to six months. This is to ensure that the viewers get to watch the programmes."

Hindi film actor Akshay Kumar is clearly a hot property for the channel. Fear Factor Khatron Ke Khiladi, anchored by Kumar, is the biggest ploy as part of the disruptive viewing to wean away viewers addicted to the 'saas-bahu' serials and family dramas running on the other channels. Fear Factor... will be on air Monday to Thursday at 10pm, with a special behind the scenes episode lined up on Friday. Surprisingly, the show will run for only four weeks.

Rajesh Kamat
Why such a short lifespan for a show that is the channel's trump card? Kamat says, "The idea is to keep up the viewer's excitement level. Once the show is over, an equally exciting reality and adventure show will occupy the slot. The programming line-up for the channel aims to hook and grab the attention of the audience in the age group of 15-34 years, who are potential, early and initial adopters for any channel."

NDTV Imagine's successful debut with Ramayana seems to have given Colors great motivation to infuse the 'shakti of bhakti' into its offerings. Meenakshi Sagar Arts is producing Jai Shri Krishna for the channel, to be aired at 8.30pm, Monday to Friday. Bandhan Saat Janamon Ka will appeal to women. To attract the youth, there is a romantic serial, Jeevan Saathi. Bollywood gossip comes packaged in Sajid Khan's hour long show, Sajid's Superstars.

The strategy is to make sure that each slot from 7pm to 10pm has something different to offer to each member of the household from Monday to Friday. This is to overcome the shortcomings of single TV homes in India. The idea is that if programming is good and of relevance to the audience, individual members within the same family will watch the content in the various slots.

Having a substantial ad budget and extensive reach in the media domain, Viacom18 is using all available platforms to promote Colors. Around 65,000 TV spots across 35 channels (including national and regional channels) have been taken up to air TV commercials. All nine channels of Network18 are promoting the shows aggressively. Some 1,000 hoardings will come up soon in cities across the country.

Activation in malls, temples and popular marketplaces is also being taken up to promote the individual shows. Colors has tied up with McDonalds for a special Khatron Ke Khiladi meal. Stunt performances featured in the show will be exhibited in malls. Street plays will be organised to popularise Mohe Rang De, a period drama set in 1942. Merchandise items will be available at Big Bazaar outlets under a tie-up with the Future Media Group.

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