At the inaugural session of FICCI's 'The Big 5 Construct India 2015' held in Mumbai, Times Network announced the launch of their new channel 'Property Now'.
On the idea behind this initiative, M. K. Anand, MD & CEO, Times Network, explained that," 60 percent of consumers' investments are locked up in real estate, and a large part of our population is employed, and interested in this sector. The stock market is five to ten percent of investments, and while it has four TV channels and three major newspapers based on it, the real estate sector does not have much representation. It may be counter intuitive both as a category for television, and in the timing, but that's why I think it will work. If we do the right thing, this will open up a new category in television"
The programming mix of the channel will have a combination of news, debates, advice and analysis on real estate and its allied aspects. The channel team informs that there will be at least 2.5 to 3 hrs of original content, and there will also be some internationally syndicated shows. The topics range from Govt initiatives like Smart Cities to buying decisions and the legalities involved, as well as features on interiors, innovations in construction, second homes, hill station destinations and the likes. Anand also adds that, "Till now, most of the juicy stories in this sector have been negative so it's important to bring in a more holistic portrayal"
The pay channel will be mainly in English with a smattering of Hindi depending on panelists, guests, and viewer call-ins.
The target group is male optimised, similar to ET Now and Times Now, but the channel is also looking at female decision makers, and campaign creatives will be addressed at both. The team explains that in research they came across two kinds of consumers, based on decision-making and behaviour- the average consumer and the expert consumer-the latter is usually the investor, who apart from having a day job, also makes wealth by buying and selling property. What separates these two is a lack of knowledge in the former, which is what the channel aims to bridge.
Distributed pan-India, the channel will be targeting the 1mn+ markets initially. Anand adds that they will aim for ET Now's penetration, but believes this brand could eventually do better than most news channels due to the interest seen in this sphere.
The channel will also become a platform for events, with properties that are off air, on ground and digital, while looking at collaborations for the same from industry bodies.
On brand associations and sponsors, Anand reveals that, "We already have a good amount of launch partners on board, and we haven't started accepting regular advertising yet. It's suffice to say that almost 50 to 60 percent of the expected total annual revenue is already in the bag." He adds that the launch campaign will be big, and they are right now in the process of finalising the creatives.
On advertising revenues, Anand reasons that, "Real estate is a Rs 3000 cr advertising market, that's mainly dominated by print, the latter's natural target group being ideal for this segment- largely English reading SEC AB 25+. But the campaign focus in our network is as effective as print, due to our focussed English audience"
For digital, the team says that their apps and portals are not search or transaction tools, so they won't be competing with the likes of magicbricks or Housing.com
How will localised content work on a national channel? Anand replies that, "We will identify nationally pertinent topics, but this will evolve as we go. Market wise, in terms of investment destinations, there only three or four cities in the top end-like Bombay, Delhi NCR, and Pune. Second rung has cities like Hyderabad, Chennai Calcutta, Vizag etc, so we can group them together, and from an advertising point of view, we will experiment with the splitting of our television beam. So eventually we could have 4 shows operating in 4 locations"
For the above, the group has already invested in technology. Amagi, their existing partner, had been doing split ads, which prompted the channel to suggest a split in content too. Anand concludes that, "There is a demand for region based inventories, so we have currently implemented this in Pune as a pilot case."