Sumita Vaid

SSC&B bags creative duties for Sahara TV and Sahara Samay

Ajay Chandwani, president, SSC&B, says it is a largish business

After National Geographic Channel, this is SSC&B's second major TV channel win. But this time, it is the Mumbai branch that deserves a pat on its back.

In a straight strategy pitch, SSC&B, Mumbai, has picked up the creative duties for Hindi entertainment channel Sahara TV, and three soon-to-be-launched news channels - Sahara Samay (time), Sahara Samay Uttar and Sahara Samay Mumbai.

Sahara Samay, Sahara Samay Uttar and Sahara Samay Mumbai are slated for launch in October. Though, Satish Menon, president, Sahara India Media Communications Ltd (SIMCL), was non-committal about the size of the business - on the grounds that "…it depends on how each channel performs finally."

"It is a largish business," says Ajay Chandwani, president, SSC&B. The media house's brief to the agency was to project both the entertainment channel and the news channels as better alternatives and, at a later stage, superior to other channels. "The task was to look for differentiators in the areas the channels would operate in and project that to viewers in a away that ensures top-of-mind recall," he says.

Elaborates SIMCL's Menon, "We will take the umbrella branding route, wherein individual sub-brands will be launched and promoted under the mother brand." The idea simply is to avoid confusion in the minds of viewers. "We are launching new programmes to rev up our entertainment section. Rather than just talk about new programmes, we have decided to announce new programmes in a phased manner. For example, in the month of July, which has been branded as ‘Jhoomta July' we are announcing the launch of two programmes."

Shubh Mangal Savadhan is a new sitcom from Sahara TV, which debuted on July 15 at 7:30 pm. The half-hour programme is a situational comedy, featuring famous Bollywood actor Paresh Rawal. It would be shown from Mondays to Wednesdays. The second programme is a new soap, Parchhaiya, slated for launch later this month. "Every month will be branded in a similar fashion and new programmes will be launched." The channel claims it has a ‘nice surprise' for its viewers. Movie actress Karisma Kapoor is set to make her small screen debut in a serial to be telecast on Sahara.

Besides beefing up its programming line-up, the media house plans to launch a corporate campaign to make SIMCL top-of-mind. For the news channels too, SSC&B is taking the umbrella branding route. Talking about the USP of the news channels, Menon says, "It is going to be one up on all the channels, whether it is the content, the speed at which news will be gathered or shown etc. The company has 1,600 V-SATS, and has the biggest network of news bureaus in the country."

While Sahara Samay will be the national news channel, Sahara Samay Uttar will cover the whole of Uttar Pradesh and Sahara Samay Mumbai, the markets of Maharashtra and Gujarat. "These regional channels are beyond news. They will also cover local festivals, events etc," Menon says. "The content of the regional channels would be a combination of local news and views," adds Chandwani.

Arup Ghosh, former anchor at Prannoy Roy's NDTV, who left in September 2000 to start Network One, will head Sahara Samay. While Rajiv Bajaj (president of the Hinduja Group's IN TV till February 2002) will be in-charge of Sahara Samay Mumbai, veteran journalist Prabhat Dabral is going to head Sahara Samay Uttar. © 2002 agencyfaqs!

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