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Brands are putting regional mkts under the spotlight: Kevin Vaz

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Brands are putting regional mkts under the spotlight: Kevin Vaz

The broadcast space is ever evolving with players today not focused solely on Hindi General Entertainment, but regional content as well. With a wide array of changes being observed, and prominent networks introducing regional channels to their network bouquet, the evolution of regional content and how it is shaping up is a much discussed topic.

In conversation with exchange4media, Kevin Vaz, President and General Manager, Star Jalsha and Jalsha Movies, shares his perspective on the evolution of regional content in the broadcast space, the viability of Hindi GEC format shows in the regional broadcast space, and the plans ahead for 2013.

How do you think regional content has evolved in the Indian broadcast space? What has been Star Jalsha’s programming strategy?
Star Jalsha was launched in September 2008. Prior to that, most of the content was of low standard in terms of quality. It was also observed that older audiences in Bengal were the primary viewers, while the younger audiences preferred watching national television as compared to regional channels. But Star Jalsha redefined the entire regional GEC space and programming in local languages by taking up the production levels in terms of quality, viewing experience, etc., and made them comparable with national television. We also introduced different genres of programming by introducing romance, celebrity talk shows and so on, thereby bringing about differentiated content in the regional general entertainment space. This resulted in an increased number of younger viewers joining the more mature audiences. The channel has always been at the forefront of innovative programmes and redefined Bengali programming in a much larger sense.

Could you elaborate on the marketing strategy for the channel?
We have a 360-degree approach towards marketing of our shows and content. One of our biggest campaigns was the rebranding of Star Jalsha, which we had undertaken in June 2012, thereby reinstating its philosophy ‘Chalo Paltai’ (Let’s bring a change). This was in lieu of keeping up with the rapid changes and progress that were being observed in Bengal. This was well communicated through press, radio, internet, etc. This apart, the shows undertaken also reflected the channel philosophy, which was weaved into the storylines and portrayed through characters.

How have you seen the content and marketing strategy translate in terms of:
a) Revenues
b) Viewership

In terms of viewership numbers, we are clearly number one. Also, we launched Jalsha Movies on December 16, 2013, which was the biggest ever in West Bengal since 2008, clocking a record 154 GRPs on its opening day.
In terms of revenues, with regional content growing rapidly and the Bengali market itself growing at around 25 per cent, brands are looking at regional markets with the intent of penetrating deeper and investing in a much larger way. Regional is also looking at local businesses that are doing well.

There has been a recent trend of adopting Hindi GEC format shows. Could you elaborate on the viability of such formats for regional GECs in terms of viewership and advertising revenue?
I don’t think this is a recent trend, since it has been happening for quite some time. But again, all this depends on the merit of the market. I think if there is good content, people will be drawn towards it irrespective of whether it is a popular show format adopted from Hindi GECs or original programming by the regional channels themselves. Also, Bengal is a tough market to crack.

Any targets marked for 2013?
We clearly are looking at being the leader in the markets for both Star Jalsha and Jalsha Movies. We are regularly churning out shows that have done well and we want to continue repeating the success rate as we move forward.

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