Reliance forays into the regional TV space with a Hindi GEC

By Anindita Sarkar , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | March 28, 2011
The channel Big Magic will serve the core Hindi heartland of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.

Marketers are increasingly recognising regional preferences in their product mixes and Reliance Broadcast Network (RBNL) seems to have tapped this idea well.

Riding on the back of Reliance Broadcast Network's (RBNL) recent foray into the television space with the English entertainment genre, the company is now ready to mark its entry into the regional district as well.

Come April 4, RBNL will launch Big Magic, positioned to be a Hindi general entertainment channel, to serve the core Hindi heartland of Uttar Pradesh (UP), Madhya Pradesh (MP) and Bihar.

The new entity will offer content across music, movies and comedy shows, which are tailored to meet local and colloquial tastes.

According to Tarun Katial, CEO, Reliance Broadcast Network, UP, MP and Bihar represent 30 per cent of India's population, and by far, are the most attractive and lucrative markets for advertisers. "These underserviced markets indicate a great opportunity to offer audiences with entertainment that is tailored to meet their preferences."

"Besides it also offers marketers a medium to reach out to consumers in these markets."

Katiyal feels that the radio brand lineage will help the new channel fortify its position quicker than otherwise.

According to market estimates, the three states together account to 13 per cent of the national advertising expenditure, which is pegged at approximately Rs 23,000 crore.

Television spends attributed to the region is Rs 1,200 crore and the national television channels currently garner around Rs 1,050 crore of this amount, while print advertising is around Rs 1,400.

RBNL claims that the launch of Big Magic will synergise with the company's radio business as well.

Says Katial, "Big Magic has the distinct advantage of the legacy of RBNL's well-established radio brand 92.7 Big FM, a leading brand in these markets. With the equity and consumer reach of Big FM, Big Magic will quickly create an impact in these markets."

Big FM operates 11 stations across UP, MP and Bihar and caters to a weekly audience of approximately 22 lakh in this region. Katial says, "There will also be great synergies in programming between the two platforms as well as opportunities to create integrated properties executed across both platforms simultaneously."

Big Magic has tied up with all major cable operators across the states of UP, MP and Bihar such as DEN, Digicable, WWIL and Hathway. The channel will reach out to approximately 10 million households in the Hindi heartland. The channel will be placed on S-band.

The launch of Big Magic will be supported by an integrated marketing campaign. This will include television, radio (92.7 BIG FM), out-of-home (Big Street), digital and live entertainment (Big Live).

With the addition of Big Magic, RBNL will now take the total number of channels in its bouquet to six. It currently has three CBS channels in its pocket, while it plans to launch two new channels as part of its 50:50 joint venture with the European television and radio major RTL. It is pertinent to note here that Big Magic is the new and rebranded avatar of the recently acquired Imagine Showbiz.

Says Katial, "We want to build a strong bouquet of channels, which offer advertisers very specific target audiences that they are looking for, with minimum spillover."

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