Alokananda Chakraborty

Channels, FM stations cash in on Valentine's Day fever

With Valentine’s Day round the corner, it is not surprising that media entities are looking at a share of the advertising pie with tailor-made programming initiatives

Love may be a universal feeling not restricted by time, place or season, but in a material world it takes on a different meaning - emerging as a business proposition for many. Hence, seeing a spurt of activity around Valentine Day's, that is, February 14, is not unusual with a number of advertisers, especially, in product categories such as, sweets, cards, gifts, jewellery, and allied gift items such as, flowers and soft toys, cashing in on the fever with an eye, of course, to increasing sales during the period. Seeing an opportunity to provide a platform for these players, media entities - be it press, television or radio - have, over the years, developed exclusive packages and programmes around this property, and this year too, the scenario is no different.

Some initiatives, especially on TV and radio, could be aimed purely at "delighting the customer" (read viewers or listeners); but there are others aimed squarely at the advertiser.

The STAR Group, for one, has a contest running on its flagship channel STAR Plus inviting viewers to send in their messages on the occasion of Valentine's Day. The sender of the best message gets an opportunity to date Sujal and Kashish of serial Kahin To Hoga on STAR Plus, implying, that the channel can kill two birds with one arrow - establish a viewer connect for its shows as well as promote its stars. Arch-rival Sony Entertainment Television has the February 12 episode of its popular show Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin revolving around the theme of love.

Movie channels STAR Gold, STAR Movies, HBO, ZEE MGM and ZEE Cinema, predictably, have a lineup of romantic movies on Valentine's Day, including Titanic in Hindi on STAR Gold, Shakespeare in Love, Keeping The Faith, Moulin Rouge and Shallow Hal on STAR Movies and a movie marathon on both HBO and ZEE MGM with flicks such as Notting Hill (on HBO) and Serendipity (on ZEE MGM) as part of their V-Day fare. ZEE Cinema, on the other hand, has a month-long festival of romantic movies titled Dil Deke Dekho with evergreen hits such as Maine Pyar Kiya, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak and Hum Aapke Hain Kaun on its list.

Music channels too have gone into an overdrive with CHannel [V] serving up a menu of on-ground initiatives tied in to its V-Day programming including a back-to-back presentation of love songs titled Love Parade on February 14 and 15, an on-air contest and a special featuring the best episodes of its regular show [V] Crush.

Rival MTV is decidedly low-key on the occasion, choosing instead to convert a date with the stars of the film Lakeer (featuring John Abraham and Sunil Shetty) into a special presentation on the morning of February 14, while ZEE Music will telecast the Color Mate Love Awards on the evening of the same day.

Apart from regulars on the V-day circuit - the movies, music and mass channels - this year, kid's channel POGO from Turner International has also jumped onto the bandwagon with programming tailor-made for the occasion. There are special shows on animated characters Bugs Bunny and Pink Panther at 12.00 noon and 12.30 pm respectively.

For radio stations, Valentine's Day has special significance given that the medium has the ability to tap into the local market on account of its affordability and reach. Not surprisingly most stations in Mumbai as well as the other metros have set the ball rolling well in advance with special programming through the week preceding February 14.

"Spikes such as these are essentially sales-driven," maintains an executive with an FM station in Mumbai. "And the biggest driver in terms of business is the retail market, since it stands to benefit the most during the occasion," adds the official.

With most stations choosing to go with multiple sponsors, revenues from week-long celebrations could vary anywhere between Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 5-6 lakh, depending on the investment in programming and the sales thrust on them. "FM Radio is a viable medium for local advertisers and Valentine's Day is essentially a metro phenomenon," states a senior media planner from The Media Edge (TME). "A combination of these factors has ensured that local-level advertisers opt for this medium," she adds. © 2004 agencyfaqs!

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