afaqs!

Viacom18 to launch Sonic, its fifth television channel

By Anindita Sarkar , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | November 30, 2011
Targeted at young adults, the new channel will serve programmes in the categories of action, adventure and animation.

In a bid to further strengthen its position in the Indian entertainment domain, Viacom18 is all set to launch a new channel, its fifth one in India, in mid-December, 2011.

Christened Sonic, the channel is targeted at India's young adults who fall in the 10-17 year-old-age bracket. Sonic aims to be the 'sci-fi platform for the wi-fi generation', and will therefore, serve programmes in the category of action, adventure and animation, through television shows and movies.

Donning the tagline 'Thrills. Guts. Glory', the 24x7 channel will showcase approximately 6-7 hours of original content in its initial days. While Scarecrow Communications is the creative agency on the account, Vizeum, currently the media agency for Nick, will handle the media duties for Sonic.

According to industry sources, the channel plans to have media spends of Rs 10-15 crore in its first year.

Sonic will be available in four languages within the Hindi-speaking markets, with the aim to reach out to the masses in the region.

Speaking to afaqs!, Nina Elavia Jaipuria, executive vice-president and general manager, Sonic and Nick India, informs that while a lot of common team features will be shared between Nick and the new channel, the sales teams will be different.

While Nupur Saxena will head the national sales function for Sonic, Vikas Khanna will head the sales functions for Nick. Both, in turn, will report to Bikash Kundu, vice-president and cluster head, sales, Sonic and Nick India. Prior to this, Kundu was assistant vice-president and head, sales, Nick India. Saxena was director, sales, west and south, Nick India, and Khanna was director, sales, north and east, Nick India.

Talking about the reason behind the launch of the channel, Jaipuria notes, "While the 10-17 year-olds are today's key influencers, and in many categories, decision makers in households, there is no tailor-made content that is served to them yet. They are snacking across all platforms and remain underserved. We understood that there was a need gap here that had to be filled, and hence, decided to get into this age bracket."

With the added intention to make the channel an inclusive platform for all age groups, Sonic aims to tap into and grow the Rs 200-250 crore kids category, as well, and the Rs 500-600 crore youth category.

The programming line-up will showcase content across a diverse genre and will target the urban, hyperactive, new young adult in a manner that's innovative, engaging and interactive.

"While innovation will be the key driver for Sonic's content, we plan to unleash interactivity through digital initiatives", adds Jaipuria.

Commenting on the launch, Haresh Chawla, Group CEO (chief executive officer), Viacom18, says, "The next 12 months will see Viacom18 in an expansion mode, and Sonic's launch is the first step in that direction."

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