In a fresh attempt to make a dent in Andhra Pradesh's television market, Raj TV plans to launch a new Telugu channel called Vissa TV on May 23. Confirming the decision, R Radhakrishnan, general manager (marketing), Raj TV, told agencyfaqs!, "We had earlier slotted it for launch in October last year, but had to postpone it as we were preoccupied with the relaunch of Raj TV, the change in its logo et al. We figured that May 2003 would be the right time, as it will allow us to firm up our plans. We now have everything in place for Vissa TV."
Vissa will be a free-to-air channel and will be beamed via Thaicom satellite. While the channel is being set up with an initial investment of Rs 50 crore, the company plans to pump in another Rs 25 crore over the next few months. The organisation has put in place a 15,000 sq feet office in Hyderabad and appointed Suman, who has worked with ETV and Jain TV earlier in various capacities, as head of programming. The operations part of the business will be in the custodianship of Raveendran, who is also a director in the company. The channel will mostly depend on outsourced programming. "We have spoken to Padmaalaya, AVM Studios, Seventh Channel and an independent producer called Raghavendra Rao in Hyderabad for this," said Radhakrishnan.
The channel plans to toe the line followed by market leader Gemini TV to woo audiences. The lead channel's programming consists of serials spread through the day - right from 9.30 in the morning to 11.00 at night. To begin with, Vissa will also be "serial-heavy" and have five news bulletins. It will debut with 15 serials, of which nine are new productions and the other six will comprise popular Tamil serials dubbed in Telugu. The half-hour news bulletins will be spread through the day, three of which will be in Telugu, one in English and another in Urdu to cater to the wide audience base in the state. Eventually, Vissa will have news bulletins in Hindi as well. While news will be telecast live from Hyderabad, the other programmes will be uplinked from Chennai.
As Vissa TV puts its plans in place, the question that comes to mind is, will its gameplan work? The market already has five Telugu players - Gemini, ETV, Teja, MAA TV, DD-Hyderabad - that cater exclusively to this audience. But Radhakrishnan is not worried. "This channel has been put together after considerable study of the market. Our internal surveys suggest there is certainly scope for another new player. If a good alternative is given to people there is no reason for it not to work," he reiterated.
Corroborated B Satish, investment manager, Maximise, "No one has taken a vow to not watch anything new! Any channel that offers good programming stands a good chance of wooing the audience. But a word of caution: Experience shows it would be unwise on the part of a new player to expect people to give up their favourite serials for something new." He added any new entrant could make a dent with a smart programming strategy, and by wowing audiences with the big names in the game. The staying power will be determined by its content and by its ability to remain top-of-mind.
"We will announce the launch of Vissa through the outdoors," Radhakrishnan added. We have started our initial rounds of prospective advertisers who have evinced interest in the channel. However, we are progressing cautiously and plan to launch full assault when we are ready with a full-fledged programming and marketing strategy." © 2003 agencyfaqs!