"The awareness of Epic Channel is still low. We hope to take it to the next level with the new campaign" - Mahesh Samat, founder and MD, Epic Television Networks

By Prachi Srivastava , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing
Published : July 03, 2015
Epic Channel is launching eight shows this month. Of these, it is betting big on three shows which will be directed/hosted by Bollywood personalities Anurag Basu, Javed Akhtar and Naseeruddin Shah.

Year 2014 saw two channels being launched in the Hindi entertainment space - Zindagi (June) and Epic Channel (November). While Zindagi was backed by media conglomerate ZEEL, Epic Channel was the first offering from Epic Television Networks. The latter is helmed by the former Walt Disney MD.

Epic Channel was launched with content related to Indian history, folklore and mythology. Its shows are from the genres of action, drama, comedy and narrative non-fiction.


Mahesh Samat

Though the channel still does not enjoy appointment viewing, unlike most Hindi GECs, Mahesh Samat, founder and managing director, Epic Television Networks, shares that it has been seeing an organic growth since launch. "Like every startup, Epic Channel been through its ups and downs. But, overall, we are quite satisfied with the progress. We wanted to establish Epic as a segmented channel and we have taken the first steps towards that. Having said that, it's still a long journey," he says.

In week 26, according to TAM, Epic Channel garnered 5 GRPs (C&S, 4+, HSM). The channel gets a bulk of its viewership from metro audiences from SEC A B, in the 24-44 age group. "Mumbai and Delhi continue to be strong markets for Epic, but we are seeing strong traction from Punjab, UP and Bihar," Samat adds.

Epic Channel is launching eight shows this month and has launched an extensive campaign around them. "The awareness of Epic Channel is still low. We hope to take it to the next level with the new campaign," Samat says.

Some of these shows are being directed/hosted by popular Bollywood names. 'Mid-Wicket Tales with Naseeruddin Shah', 'Stories by Rabindranath Tagore', directed by Anurag Basu and 'Jaane Pehchaane with Javed Akhtar' are some of the shows being launched.

"These are more relevant, more connected because they form a part of the mainstream discussion - Bollywood and Cricket. Having said that, a lot of our previous shows with the right awareness level will become mainstream discussions," Samat avers.

The three shows will be placed in the 10 pm slot and will have 26 episodes each. While 'Stories by Rabindranath Tagore' and 'Jaane Pehchaane with Javed Akhtar' will be bi-weekly, 'Mid-Wicket Tales with Naseeruddin Shah' will be telecast once a week.

The channel recently ran a digital contest, #Dothe10, wherein the user had to create the mnemonic '10' as creatively as possible, using only his body. The idea was to create awareness and strengthen the 10 pm timeslot on the channel.

"10 pm slot is an experimental one and has a large number of viewers. People don't mind seeing different things as compared to the traditional TV viewing in the evening, around this time. That's how the whole campaign was designed," he shares.

Grey Worldwide and Madison have worked on the new marketing campaign for the channel.

The Shows:

'Mid-Wicket Tales with Naseeruddin Shah': It will focus on the game's past - match highlights, sportsmanship within the game, stadiums, hits and misses and much more, attempting to re-visit all the wonderful memories of the nation's first love. The Epicenter of Cricket in each of its hourly episodes will visit different eras of Indian cricket. It aims to bring alive the humorous side of the game, along with undocumented anecdotes and quirky trivia. Starting July 10, it will air every Friday.

Mid-Wicket Tales with Naseeruddin Shah

'Jaane Pehchaane with Javed Akhtar', meanwhile, takes the audience down memory lane filled with Bollywood stars, films and filmmakers. Akhtar will be seen reminiscing famous dialogues of yesteryears created by him, and narrating unheard stories. It is a show that bases its episodes on well-researched content and promises to reveal some of the industry's best-kept secrets, the channel claims. Starting July 8, it will air every Wednesday and Thursday.

Jaane Pehchaane with Javed Akhtar

'Stories by Rabindranath Tagore' will depict the literary, somewhat imagined world of Tagore's novels and short stories. It is set in a politically volatile period, constantly shifting social world of the early twentieth century undivided Bengal. It will also depict the upcoming urban Calcutta, a melting pot, where protagonists are pouring in from their rural, social and cultural spaces to make this upcoming new world that is dominated by the west and their colonial rulers. The show will have each novel in two or three episodes (46 mins each) and short stories in a single episode. Starting July 6, it will air every Monday and Tuesday.

Stories by Rabindranath Tagore

Besides these three shows, the channel is also launching second seasons of its popular properties - 'Raja Rasoi Aur Anya Kahaniyaan' (July 8 onwards; 10.30 pm), 'Ekaant' (July 9 onwards; 9.30 pm) and 'Epic Ke Dus' (July 9 onwards; 9 pm).

The other two new shows being introduced are - 'Time Machine' and 'Lootere'.'Lootere' starts on July 10 at 9 pm, while 'Time Machine' will occupy the 9 pm slot on Wednesdays, July 8 onwards.

Epic Channel is not aggressively selling spots to advertisers yet. "We want to get the right rates and the right rates will come only if there are right ratings. Post this campaign, we want to see where the ratings land. Having said that, we have seen that, across media agencies and companies, people have positive views on Epic. They understand the differentiation. They are also waiting for us to get the right kind of traction before they come on board," Samat explains.

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