Sony to spend Rs 15 crore to promote YRF shows

By Sangeeta Tanwar , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | December 22, 2009
The channel is set to launch one reality and two fiction shows beginning January 1, 2010

Sony Entertainment Television is all set to unleash the Yash Raj Films (YRF) magic beginning January 2010. The channel has roped in sponsors for all the five YRF offerings, including one fiction and four non-fiction properties, for its weekend prime time band during 8-10 pm.

The general entertainment channel (GEC) has got on board brands such as Neutrogena, Tata Photon, Good Night, Alpenliebe and Head & Shoulders as sponsors for Lift Kara De, Seven, Mahi Ve, and Powder respectively.

& #BANNER1 & #According to industry estimates, the title sponsorship for its non-fiction show, Lift Kara De, hosted by Karan Johar, has probably fetched Rs 4-5 crore. The cost of a 10-second ad spot for the show is pegged in the range of Rs 1,00,000-1,50,000.

The sponsorship for the other four fiction shows is estimated to be in the range of Rs 2.5-3 crore each. A 10-second ad spot for these is expected to be in the range of Rs 90,000-1,20,000.

The GEC has decided to launch its reality show, Lift Kara De, on January 1, 2010. The channel claims that the format of the show is unique and indigenous, where each week, a superstar will be seen on the show, along with a commoner claiming to be the biggest fan of the superstar. The one hour show will be aired every Friday at 8 pm.

The second show, Seven, will debut on the same day at 9 pm. The show, inspired by mythology, is being touted as a visual treat high on special effects, depicting the fight between good and evil. The fiction has four protagonists drawn from different parts of the country, possessing extra-ordinary power to take on the evil forces.

Bollywood director Johar's show will compete with popular shows such as Balika Vadhu (Colors), Jhansi Ki Rani (Zee TV) and Sajan Ghar Jaana Hai (STAR Plus). The second show, Seven, will have to fight for viewers' eyeballs with shows such as Pavitra Rishta (Zee TV), Bidaai (STAR Plus) and the recently announced love story, Yeh Pyaar Na Hoga Kum (Colors), which has the caste system at the core of the story.

Speaking to afaqs!, Ajit Thakur, business head, Sony Entertainment Television steers clear of comparisons and competition theories. He says, "Each show has been placed where it stands to draw the maximum number of the TG (target group). The idea is not only to make our hard core viewers stick to our shows but also to create a new time band on weekends, pulling in a new set of audience, which will be tempted to sample the differentiated content."

For example, Lift Kara De has a universal appeal and is thus slotted at 8 pm every Friday. Others, including fictions such as Mahi Ve and, are skewed towards women and will be aired every Saturday (9 pm) and Sunday (8 pm).

Mahi Ve is the story of an ambitious and outgoing young girl who has her eyes set on a successful career and hopes to meet her prince charming some day. On the other hand, is all about the two contrasting characters, Isha and Rohan, who set up a company to help young boys and girls find their perfect matches. The story revolves around the quirky requirements of individuals and promises to be a fun filled roller coaster ride.

Mahi Ve is pitted against STAR Plus's newly launched musical reality show, Music Ka Mahamuquabla and Yahaaan Main Ghar Ghar Kheli on Zee TV. is pitched against Baa Bahu Aur Baby on STAR Plus and Mahavir Hanuman on Colors on Sundays.

Speaking on Sony's programming strategy, Thakur says, "With weekend programming, we are attempting to create a new time band. For several weeks, we have been the leading GEC on weekends. With 190 GRPs in the previous week, we wish to capitalise on the fertile ground by offering viewers content that fits well with their likes and dislikes."

As per TAM data (C&S 4+, HSM), on weekends (Saturdays and Sundays) in prime time (8-12 pm) in Week 47 and 48, Sony was the leader amongst GECs, with GRPs of 32 and 24. It now aims to strengthen its dominance with strong weekend programming.

The GEC is leaving no stone unturned to create buzz and curiosity about the shows. It is learnt that the channel is spending Rs 15 crore on the advertising and marketing campaign to popularise its new offerings.

Sharing the details of the marketing campaign, Danish Khan, head, marketing, Sony, says, "The communication message promises viewers an absolutely fresh TV viewing experience. The first phase of the campaign was in the form of a teaser, with the promise to turn TV screens red beginning January. This week, the second leg of the promotion revealed the association between Sony and Yash Raj Films. The third wave of communication focuses on individual shows."

According to Khan, keeping in mind the appeal of Sony as a progressive channel for the younger generation, the promotional campaign has a tilt towards catching the younger audience. Towards this end, the channel has undertaken branding and is carrying out advertisements in multiplexes which are running shows of recent Bollywood release, Rocket Singh. The channel has similar plans for the movie, 3 Idiots, slated to be released next month.

Besides running promotions across its network channels (Sony, Max, Pix and SAB), the GEC is advertising heavily on news channels including NDTV, CNN, Aaj Tak and STAR News. In the kids space, it has ad spots on channels such as Hungama, Nick and Disney. It is also reaching out to the youth through MTV, Bindaas, UTV Movies and Zoom.

It has also tied up with regional language channels, including Bhaskar TV, OTV and PTV Punjabi. In the print media, the channel has booked advertisement space with leading English and Hindi dailies such as The Times of India, Hindustan Times, Dainik Jagran and Dainik Bhaskar. It has also identified some of the leading publications in other regional languages.

The entire campaign has been designed by Sony's creative agency, Leo Burnett. According to Khan, "The marketing campaign not only addresses the top six metros but also focuses on Tier II cities such as Indore, Bhopal, Nagpur and Nasik. The communication and applications used stress on creating a fresh and different imagery of the shows. The marketing exercise is spread wide and deep, covering major HSM markets."

He further adds that the three phases of the campaign aim to impress upon the audience the strong weekend palette of programming promised by Sony. It is an invitation to people to come and sample the channel on Saturday and Sundays.

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