afaqs!

Will Raj TV's Friday gambit pay off?

By , agencyfaqs! | In | April 07, 2003
Raj TV will premiere films every Friday at 8.01 pm, and plans to invest a cool Rs 40 lakh on promoting the 8.00-11.00-pm time band


To beef up its performance on the ratings chart, Raj TV (Tamil satellite channel floated by M Rajendran, formerly a big-time video distributor) plans to go back to the basics. In other words, it will take recourse to the tried and tested formula of drawing audiences - movies! Under the programming band "Raj Velli Minnalgal", Raj TV will premiere films every Friday at 8.01 pm, and plans to invest a cool Rs 40 lakh on promoting the 8.00-11.00-pm time band.

While the run up to this exercise began in March with the showcase of some classic movies, the big-bang launch is slated for later this month. In this, the channel brass is banking on its mammoth - but under-utilised - library of films, which, it hopes will give Raj TV a clear edge over competition.

"Our analysis shows that even when we play an old movie that has had four or five runs, we manage to get good ratings. The eye opener of course was our movie line-up for Pongal in January this year, which made us think that perhaps we must push our existing strength in a more forceful manner," R Radhakrishnan, associate vice-president - sales & marketing, Raj TV, told agencyfaqs!.

On the occasion of Pongal, the channel had lined up three movies - Vijaykanth-starrer Vannathaipolai for January 14 (2.00 pm), Karnan, an old Sivaji Ganesan film at 8.00 pm on January 15, and Alibaba, an MG Ramachandran film again at 8.00 pm for January 16. "To our surprise we discovered that besides the Vijaykanth film - which in any case we had expected to do well - even the old films that were repeats did extremely well. So much so that these films actually managed to pull down the ratings of Sun TV's top programme Annamalai from its usual high levels," claims Radhakrishnan.

According to the TAM data put forth by Raj TV (for the target group 15-plus, both male and female, across all segments), Vannathaipolai got a TVR of 12.3 in Chennai, 18.9 in 10-lakh plus towns, while for the whole of Tamil Nadu the TVR stood at 11.1.

Meanwhile, for the movie Karnan telecast on January 15 between 8.00 and 11.00 pm - coinciding with Sun's top programme Annamalai (9.30-10.00 pm) - the channel share of Raj TV in Tamil Nadu was 20 per cent. Again, in the case of Alibaba on January 16 - also during the Annamalai time band - Raj TV did a repeat performance by notching up a channel share of 20 per cent in Tamil Nadu. "On a regular day, our channel share in the Annamalai time band is around 5 per cent," pointed out Radhakrishnan.

To reiterate his claim, Radhakrishnan gives the comparative figures for Annamalai. In Tamil Nadu, between January 6 and 20, the TVR of Annamalai hovered in the 21-plus range. But on January 15, when Karnan was on, its ratings slid to 14.5 in Tamil Nadu. On January 16 (when Alibaba was telecast on Raj TV), Annamalai slid further to 14.3 and recovered the very next day to its original high of 21.9 points.

Now, looking back at those numbers the channel has decided to refocus at its programming strategy.

As far as pecking order of Tamil channels go, Raj TV is fighting hard with Jaya TV to retain the fourth slot. While the first and second slots are occupied by the region's top network - siblings Sun and KTV - the third is currently held by Vijay TV. As Siddharth Jadhav, planning manager, Maximise, describes the situation, "The fourth slot is keenly contested for by Jaya and Raj TV and movies rate high on both their programme lists. It all depends on who is showing what and how well they are able to push the point across."

"We are very positive that given our plan to premiere films under the powerfully branded Raj Velli Minnalgal we will be able to break clutter. We are also planning to launch a host of new programmes from Monday to Thursday. The point to be noted is that Vijay TV has only one programme Kaavyanjali that has done well for them; whereas we offer a huge variety and that is what we would focus on," said Radhakrishnan.

The channel is also planning to launch two new programmes this month end. One is a K Balachandar-production called Rakka Ketiya Manasa (meaning mind with wings) and the other is by Jaishree Productions called Yanna Sattam Inda Neram (what is this sound at this hour?). The channel is planning to go on a huge promotion binge and will use print, hoardings, banners and direct contact programmes to promote its new offerings.

Clearly, Raj TV intends to leave no stone unturned to reclaim lost ground this summer. © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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