Hallmark Channel, the English-language movie and entertainment channel which was launched in India in June 1999, will air programmes dubbed in Hindi soon. In an exclusive interview to agencyfaqs!, Laxmi Hariharan, associate director, marketing (Asia Pacific), said, "The objective of Hallmark Channel is to deliver a complete entertainment experience to its viewers. And to reiterate its commitment to the Indian viewers, Hallmark is on its way to air programmes dubbed in Hindi." However she refused to divulge which of the programmes running on the channel would be dubbed in Hindi. And she clearly stated that, "We are definitely not going to tinker with our core product - made for TV movies."
Hariharan says that the decision has been inspired by Hallmark's viewership in India, which has increased by leaps and bounds in recent times. In just four months time this year (from January 2001 to April 2001), the viewership has shot up from 6 million to 7.5 million. Hariharan attributes this growth to some innovative marketing thinking by the channel.
The channel underwent a complete repositioning last November and 'Celebrate Life' became the core of the channel's new identity. The changes included a new look, a new signature tune, new packages and promos. This was followed by the change in the logo in March this year. The channel has taken on the crown logo of its parent company, Hallmark Card Inc. And the latest initiative is the launch of seven programmes in the month of May collectively called 'Magnificent Seven'.
The complete overhaul of the channel was a result of an eight-month long research conducted in five countries including India.
The research was the collaborative effort of New York-based firm, Lubin Lawrence, and ORG-Marg and Leo Burnett (Mumbai), the agency servicing Hallmark Channel. To find out what TV viewers missed the most in the channel, TV viewers, advertisers and cable operators were interviewed for the survey. The interview rested on a simple philosophy that people across the globe essentially have same values and emotions.
"One of the exercises," Hariharan recalls, "was that interviewees had to pick up the pictures that they liked out of a set of 100. And the most surprising revelation was that the same set of pictures was liked by people all over the world. One picture that was liked by every individual was that of a 40-year old couple doing a tango. This finding only reinforced our belief that emotions transcend all barriers and that we all hanker for emotional security and bonding."
And "living up to the expectations of its viewers", Hallmark is celebrating the month of May as the women's month. Between May 7 and 14, the channel will air movies on the women of Windsor and women of Camelot. It has roped in Whirlpool to sponsor the series. The promo to celebrate the women's month has been created by Leo Burnett and will be kicked off in May. The press ads will appear in major national dailies and in magazines like Femina. On May 5, some promo ads will break on the FM channels. The message of the campaign is directly aimed at men and it reads, "probably our last chance to know what women want." The advertising efforts will be supplemented with outdoor activities and ground events. Road shows will be organised in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
Hallmark's new strategy is clear - to reach out to all the members of the family. "'The Magnificent Seven' spearheads Hallmark Channel's programming strategy of creating blocks aimed at specific groups, including children, youth, women and daytime viewers," adds Hariharan.
© 2001 agencyfaqs!