channel war is on in full throttle with Raj TV stepping into its 15th year. Rival Sun TV has been ruling the Tamil Nadu market for the last 14 years, but Raj TV is all set to tilt the tables with its new revamped avatar.
Raj TV believes that Tamil Nadu has the most critical non-Hindi speaking market. The shows being churned out on rival channels are all stereotypical and deal with the same issues, it claims. To change the outlook of this market, Raj TV has decided to revamp its programming lineup. Most of the current shows are going to be pulled off air and a host of new ones introduced.
Suresh Iyer, chief executive officer, Raj TV, says, "All the shows on the other Tamil channels are very Chennai centric and shot in and around Chennai. We will take the extra effort to have diverse shows which will cater to people from cities other than Chennai."
Iyer believes that programmes drive a channel and not the other way round. But most regional channels take their viewers for granted and have shows of the same genre, with very little emphasis on the quality of the channel, he says.
The children's band runs from 5pm to 7pm. The new programmes in this time slot include original game and quiz shows for children, cartoons and a fantasy series.
The family time slot is between 8pm and 10pm, which also happens to be the primetime band. The programmes here will include a mixture of singing based reality shows (Voice of Tamil Nadu), dubbed English blockbuster movies in Tamil (Titanic, Pirates of the Caribbean) and a talent hunt for real stars who will then get roles in the feature films being produced by Raj TV. All the reality shows will be publicised by a 360 degree campaign, which will include a fair amount of below-the-line activities.
Iyer says, "Raj TV is going to produce 10 feature films, of which two are already rolling, so the contestants in the reality shows have more opportunities to enter the industry via Raj TV."
Iyer is so confident of the new revamped channel that he guarantees ratings of 5+ for the weekday primetime slot, 3+ for the afternoon slot and 3+ for the children's slot.
He says, "Raj TV is the underdog and the challenger - we have everything to gain and are prepared to put everything at stake in one go. Our motto is 'Dill Irukku!' ('We have Guts!')"
The Raj Network has four channels: Raj TV, Raj Digital Plus, Raj News and Vissa TV. Vissa TV is a Telugu channel; the others are all in Tamil. Talking about the network's expansion plans, Iyer says, "We already have one channel in Andhra Pradesh and we want to increase our foothold there as well. We will focus on Andhra Pradesh in the near future."