Hallmark Channel gets ready for new programming initiative

By , agencyfaqs! | In | September 13, 2001
Hallmark Channel kicks off the festive season with two new programmes - Sliders and Star Trek Voyager


Hallmark Channel, the English-language movie and entertainment channel which was launched in India in June 1999, has two new programmes to kick off the festive season. Sliders and Star Trek Voyager. While Sliders premiered on September 9, Star Trek Voyager will be launched on September 30. With these two programmes, the channel hopes to provide 'an involved and entertaining viewing experience' during the 8.00 pm to 12.00 midnight band on weekdays.

Sliders is slotted at 8.00 pm. It is followed by the Hallmark Movie at 9.00 pm. From September 30, the 11.00 pm-12.00 midnight slot will be taken over by Star Trek Voyager. Both Sliders and Star Trek Voyager are targeting English-speaking viewers in the age bracket of 18-35 years.

Sliders is a programme that questions one's perception of reality. There are four characters that travel back and forth in time to discover that reality is not what is seems. And to put across the same idea to the viewers, the channel's agency Leo Burnett has created an unconventional campaign, which mocks the viewer with the question "What is your reality?".

Talking about the campaign, Laxmi Hariharan, associate director, marketing (Asia Pacific), Hallmark Channel, says, "In the first phase of the launch we are promoting Sliders through a print campaign and outdoor activities. We had around 60 hoardings in various suburbs of Mumbai and each pointed to the wrong suburb. For example, you saw a hoarding in Borivli saying 'You have reached Worli'."

The same eccentricity has been carried over in the print campaign. "The campaign was quite risky. Risky because it requires a receptive mind to understand the message. One of the ads says 'The pyramid is a square', the other said 'Princess Diana survives car crash'. This programme is certainly for intelligent viewers. And that's the kind of viewer Hallmark wants to associate with," she adds.

The second phase will focus on radio, theatre and the net and will be launched soon. Hariharan's enthusiasm for Sliders is clear from the money allocated for the campaign. The channel will splurge close Rs 1.3 crore on promoting Sliders.

However, promotional activity for Star Trek Voyager is yet to take off. Hariharan says this programme is for the metro viewers who come back from office by 8.00 pm and keep up late for some good entertainment. "Star Trek Voyager plugs that gap," says Hariharan.

Prior to the launch of Sliders, in August, Hallmark launched three programmes in dual feed (Hindi and English) Seasame Street, Scholastic Clifford and Caillou for the kids block in a rather different way. "Because the importance was on one-to-one interaction with children, Hallmark channel teamed up with publishing house Scholastic India, to organise educational workshops for children in schools," says Hariharan.

Well, this is not it. Hallmark Channel has entered into a new licensing agreement with CBS Broadcast International. The agreement provides Hallmark Channel with rights to all movies and mini series distributed by CBS Broadcast International. These movies will be aired on the channel feeds serving Africa, Asia, Central/Eastern Europe, Czech/ Slovak, Israel, Italy, Latin America, Russia and the Middle East.

It seems Hallmark, which currently has a viewership base of 8.2 million in the country, is going full steam on reaffirming its positioning as a family channel. Last November the channel underwent a complete repositioning and 'Celebrate Life' became the core of the channel's new identity. And to communicate the message, the channel, since then, has launched a slew of programmes to cater to the entire family. The two new programmes serve to complement its renewed focus.

© agencyfaqs! 2001