Maharashtrian audiences contribute a serious chunk to the Hindi television viewership. Not only the viewers, the actors of the Marathi television industry also overlap with the Hindi television industry and it's quite a task to pull off a show on a Marathi channel which has made history on Hindi television. But, ETV Marathi took the challenge and launched the regional version of the most successful game show in India, Kaun Banega Crorepati. The Marathi adaption of the format, Kon Hoeel Marathi Crorepati (KHMC), gave a big push to ETV Marathi, which grew over 70 per cent in 2013 with the help of KHMC.
Anuj Poddar, EVP, Viacom18 and business head, EVP Marathi, says, "We wanted to rewrite the benchmark for Marathi television. When we thought of launching KBC in Marathi, many were sceptical about the scale and if we will be able to pull off the show on. Unlike the south audiences, all Marathi audiences had seen KBC before and we were very conscious about the fact that we have to match up to that expectation. Moreover, they have seen it six times before, so how does one not look like a poor country cousin of the Hindi version? But I think KHMC has delivered to the same scale and we also shot it on the same set."
The channel had roped in Sachin Khedekar to host the show as he has a family man image. In order to maintain the tempo, while KHMC was on-air at the 9-10 pm slot, the channel had launched a show at the 8.30 pm slot called Majhe Man Tujhe Jhale. The show is a young love story and has witnessed viewership from the youngsters, who are coming back on the channel.
Though it is understood that KHMC would have attracted some unique viewers to the channel, Poddar is quite positive that 1760 Saasubbai should be able to build its own appointment audiences. Also, the show has more universal appeal (being a sitcom) than fiction shows. ETC Marathi expects the families which were habituated to watch KHMC at 9 pm to continue to be on the channel.
"The way we are constructing our programming is, we are making sure everybody is getting something. And the shows are complementing each other. So people have a reason to come and watch a show, stay and watch the next show and get diverse content. It's very important and that's why we launched Majhe Man Tujhe Jhale before we took KHMC off-air. Our fiction offering at 10 pm is also getting a lot of traction," Poddar avers.
Kiran Ranade, senior director, Exchange at Mindshare Group, shares, "ETV Marathi's KHMC has been a driver of prime-time. Not only the show particularly has been viewed but also the shows that air before and after KHMC started getting good ratings. For the new properties, KHMC is more of a family show, while the other two have different target audiences. Initially in the 3-4 weeks it looks difficult that they will work well but eventually they will get settled. Also, it depends on what competitors air on the same time slot."
The channel is also gearing up to launch its home-grown dancing reality show, Mhanje Assal Dancer (MAD). The show will hit the small screen on September 27 and will be aired on Fridays and Saturdays at 9 pm.
The show calls for participation of children in the age group of 4-14 years who vie for the crown of "The Assal Dancer". Judged by Dharmesh Yelande, Urmila Kanitkar and Ravi Jadhav, the show will be hosted by Siddharath Jadhav.
In the show, 20 kids will be selected after auditions and will be divided into four teams of five contestants each. Assisted by a mentor choreographer, the children will present one solo performance and one group act every week. It will run for 31 episodes.
ETV Marathi is using a multi-media approach across various touch points to promote the reality property. While the auditions of the show have started, it is being marketed through hi-decibel on-air promotions (five weeks before launch and two weeks after the launch). While an average of 2050 spots will run on the network itself, there will also be on-air graphics, Astons & Bugs to drive tune-in for each launch. There will also be 12 days cross-channel promotions on a mix of channels like regional news, music, movie channels and local cable, with more than 1600 spots.
On the OOH front, there will be large format sites in key arterial zones to focus on consumers and also create trade impact, as well as visibility across railway stations, bus queue shelters, bus back panels and RHS panels. There will be launch day tune-in ads in top 20 regional publications to achieve impact and also omnipresence, depth and breadth across Maharashtra.
The channel also plans to publicise the launch of the show on the digital platform, with visibility on trade websites and engagement activities on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.