With the growth of channels in India as well as the specialisation of TV content, viewership habits are fast changing. TV guide channel ‘What’s On India’ from What’s On India Media Pvt Ltd, one of India’s premier TV Guidance and Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) companies, is set for an all India launch. The channel is currently available to all Hathway users beginning December 1, 2009, however, in the next few days the TV guide channel aims to go live on various DTH and cable channels as well.
The free-to-air TV guide channel is primarily advertising supported. It is learnt that the TV guide channel will be looking at essentially taking a creative agency on board from the second quarter of 2010, till then, the channel will continue working with consultants.
In conversation with exchange4media, Atul Phadnis, Founder and, CEO, ‘What’s On India’, explained, “One of the biggest effects of this increase in content choices has been on appointment viewing depleting rapidly and a steep rise in unplanned viewing. The latest studies conducted in our market suggest that unplanned viewing is as high as 70 percent which meaning viewers switch on their TV set 70 percent of the time not knowing what to watch. The What’s-On-India channel addresses this unplanned viewing occasions by presenting viewers with information and options that will ease discovery of new content.”
“When we tested this concept on consumers, the reactions were universally the same. All viewers in C&S and DTH homes said they needed help in discovering programs on TV. The other key feedback was that the TV Guidance channel should be the first channel that opens up on their TV sets” added Phadnis.
According to Phadnis, “Since this is a special channel that will enhance the TV viewers overall viewing experience, we have been extended a red carpet welcome by a host of Cable and DTH operators. The operators will promote the channel to their subscribers and announce its addition to their offering. From our own end, we are looking at TV as the main medium to promote the What’s-On-India channel. Our TV spots will be on various channels towards the end of December. We will also have road shows in specific cities to explain the concept to viewers and receive their first hand feedback.”
Speaking on the growth plans for 2010, Phadnis said, “Our focus post launch is to constantly enhance the TV Guidance offerings to users even as we attack the Unplanned Viewing problem with a vengeance. A lot of exciting work is currently happening to integrate mobile, online and social networks into our model. That will reach out to metro based evolved TV viewers. However, on the other hand, we are also working on local language extensions that will help the semi-urban and rural viewers.”
Already there a series of mobile solutions are said to be integrated with the channel for instance, reminders about upcoming programs to searching for content through your mobile to actually consuming promotional material on the phone and so on. “The emergence of 3G networks offers an exciting set of possibilities for our channel. Besides these you will see a set of joint launches between What’s-On-India and a couple of DTH Operators for Online and Mobile” Phadnis pointed out.
In a prepared statement, K.Jayaraman, Managing Director, Hathway says “We are delighted to partner with What’s On India to launch a Consumer TV Guidance channel for Hathway subscribers. We believe this initiative offers a unique method of TV guidance and convenience in program selection to our viewers.”
What’s-on-India Media, one of India’s largest consumer TV Guidance and EPG companies was set up in 2005 by Atul Phadnis, at the inflection point of the Analog Indian TV industry turning digital, the company was VC funded by Sequoia Capital and Nexus Venture Partners to deliver a series of consumer focused TV Guidance media including India’s first TV Guide Channel. Clients include all major TV networks and Cable/DTH/IPTV operators in India such as Hathway, Airtel Digital, STAR TV, Discovery Networks, UTV Entertainment, Reliance BIG TV, Digicable, DEN, and so on.
What’s On India channel, TV guidance channel, was launched in November 2009 and is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2009, with a target of reaching 20 million homes by the first quarter of 2010.
‘What’s on India’ plans to go mobile; attempts to break-even soon