Sony Pictures Networks India's new Marathi general entertainment channel, Sony Marathi, is set to launch on August 19. The channel will go on air with the telecast of the 55th Maharashtra State Film Awards.
Apart from the awards, the channel will go live with 11 new shows (fiction and non-fiction) such as - Julta Julta Jultay Ki, H.M. Bane T.M. Bane, Saare Tuzhyach Sathi, Ti Phulrani, Duniyadari Filmy Style, Year Down, Bheti Laagi Jeeva, Hrudhayat Vaje Something, Gajra Maharashtra' etc. The non-fiction lineup includes Maharashtracha Favorite Dancer and Maharashtrachi Hasya Jatra. Along with the daily dose of entertainment, the channel also promises a great library of Marathi movies.
The channel will be available across key direct-to-home (DTH) and digital cable platforms.
Talking about the research that SPN did before launching Sony Marathi and the feedback that they received from the viewers, NP Singh, managing director and chief executive officer, says, "In the last couple of years, the audience has said that they have been seeing only one kind of programming and while they are enjoying it, they are watching it because there has been no credible alternative content available. They want to see high-quality content which is more progressive and aspirational and that is what Sony has stood for in this market."
He adds, "For the audience, aspirational and progressive means Sony because they have been viewing a lot of our content and we identified that's what they are looking for and that's why we have come up with Sony Marathi and our content will appeal to those viewers. It is mostly urban viewers. Therefore, there is confidence that the content will be appreciated because it is differentiated from what one sees on television."
Speaking on where he wants to see Sony Marathi in the next one year, Singh says, "We are focused on building the brand 'Sony Marathi' first through the content that we have on our channel. Once the content resonates with our viewers, everything else will fall into place. Currently, the entire focus and attention is not on chasing numbers or rankings, but we are focusing on Sony Marathi as a brand that is established in the psyche of the consumers through the content we are presenting on our channel."
While the trailers of the shows look to be targeting the youth and urban Maharashtra markets, Ajay Bhalwankar, business head, Sony Marathi, says, "This is not youth content and all kinds of drama will be available. Marathi channels are consumed by families, together, so every member of the family will find something to take away from this channel and something to relate with. We are not looking at women-centric content, rather, we are looking at family-centric content. Broadcasting means getting the family together."
He adds, "Beyond Mumbai, there is Pune, Nasik, Nagpur, Kolhapur, Satara, Sangli, Aurangabad, and Amravati which are all urban markets, so for a Marathi channel, it is very important to become an urban channel and Sony Pictures Networks is very urban and sophisticated as a network and Sony Marathi will take that tradition forward."
Currently, the promos of Sony Marathi's new shows can be seen on SPN's network channels. Apart from that, the network is also promoting the launch through news channels and other Marathi channels. "We will do print advertising closer to the date of launch because our network has such a strong presence in this market. We will be doing radio ads as well," adds Singh.
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