It was in October 2008 that STAR Plus undertook a novel way of advertising its new show - Jahan Pe Basera Ho (JPBH). The channel rolled out what it called a "print serial" for the show, complete with the pictorial adaptation of the previous days' episodes, with actual grabs from the serial.
STAR Plus was the first to carry this kind of innovation in the print medium for a television show. The print serial for Jahan Pe Basera Ho was carried in Dainik Bhaskar's Bhopal and Indore editions. The channel is once again using the print medium to up the popularity quotient of its month-old show, Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai (YRKKH), which will also be seen in print serial form.
It appears that the novelty factor of the print serial has caught on with other general entertainment channels too. NDTV Imagine is a case in point, with a print serial for its newly launched show, Jyoti, appearing in Divya Bhaskar.
Anupam Vasudev, executive vice-president, marketing and communications, STAR India, explains why print serials are an attractive proposition, vis-à-vis print ads about the serial. "A print serial ensures more engagement and involvement with the readers than a simple advertisement. In case a viewer misses a particular episode, he or she can go through the print serial and still manage to stay connected with what's happening on the show. A print version of the show leads to higher duplication of the viewers between subsequent episodes."
Shailja Kejriwal, executive vice-president, content, NDTV Imagine, points out, "Print serial is an interesting tool for promoting a newly launched show. The visually attractive storyboards introduce the viewers to the characters, give them a sneak peak into the story and holds their interest and helps them catch up with the story. Besides it makes for an interesting read than a standard tune in advertisement."
While selecting publications for carrying the print serial, channels consider three factors, namely, reach of the publication, readership profile (the core target group that it caters to) and the willingness of the publication to have an association with the channel.
The print serials for STAR Plus' shows, JPBH and YRKKH have been executed by Purple Production, a subsidiary of Purple Focus. Commenting on the print serials for the two shows, Rahul Vaidya, director, Purple Focus, says, "Jahan Pe Basera Ho was the first serial to be converted into print format. The serial in print was run concurrently with that on television and it helped redirect the readers of print to the television by generating curiosity, interest and inquisitiveness."
Vaidya points out that Purple Focus' role is to add more value to the client's business by trying to innovate. The serials appear in the form of a display advertisement in the newspaper and achieve immense visibility for the channel's programming, by reaching out to a large mass. For the publication, print serials prove to be a great content value addition for its readers. And for the audiences, the print serial turns out to be a great connect and sampling tool.