For ace production house and soon-to-turn broadcaster NDTV getting it right is as crucial as getting it first. The Delhi-based content provider of STAR News, which is set to go solo on March 31, is leaving no stone unturned in the run-up to the D-day when Hindi news channel, NDTV India, and English counterpart NDTV 24X7 finally see the light of day.
The production house has hired the services of Lee Hunt Associates, specialists in network branding and marketing to finetune the positioning and corporate image of the soon-to-be launched NDTV channels. Though officials from the production house were unavailable for comment, Lee Hunt, president of the New York-based company, did confirm the development saying, "I consulted with NDTV on branding, marketing and on-air promotion for the launch of their English and Hindi news channels."
If one doubts the necessity of a specialist for a brand - which, besides being much talked about in the country, also holds a premium position in the minds of viewers - Hunt has an interesting explanation to offer, "News is essentially a parity product. As a viewer, I have to believe that a channel stands for something. If what they stand for aligns with my personal needs and beliefs I will choose that channel first."
As far as NDTV goes, Hunt's task seems cut out - "to build on its strengths and continue with the promise of being first with the most accurate, breaking news". "NDTV is a company of firsts - whether being the first independent news service in India or the first to provide comprehensive election analysis," says Hunt, who is a veteran in the television broadcasting business having launched cable channels for Turner, Discovery and MTV besides working on news channels CNN and MSNBC. "The current positioning builds on these attributes besides leveraging the fact that it is the most credible news service."
Interestingly, NDTV India and NDTV 24X7, though positioned to complement each other, will sport distinct identities. For the record, NDTV 24X7 will be totally up-market, targeted at the "classes", while NDTV India, though retaining a "classy look", will be primarily targeted at the masses. The idea, according to Hunt, is to "reflect the unique qualities of the language, the culture and the anchors and reporters who make up the service".
Hunt has also attempted to move away from the tag of being a "Delhi studio service" while positioning the channels. "I think it is imperative for viewers to realise that NDTV covers all of India, with more bureaus across the country, more mobile studios on the road and more reporters in the field," he says.
The final aim of this exercise, according to the Hunt, is to help the channels be well defined, differentiated and relevant to its audience. "Everywhere in the world new channels are launching and fragmenting audiences. To be successful, a channel's attributes or characteristics have to be clear in the viewer's mind, which is best possible if you build a strong brand." © 2003 agencyfaqs!