Regional channels have one plus point – the on-air and off-air activities can be leveraged to the fullest to give a local connect with the audience. Alpha Marathi seems to take advantage of this. According to Nitin Vaidya, Sr VP, Alpha Marathi, the channel gives a mix of both, with a tilt towards the latter. The channel’s self-initiated Alpha Gaurav awards are a result of this strategy and in its fifth year, the awards have paid off for the channel.
TAM’s study on televised events indicates that such events have a wide-ranging impact on viewers and can work well for the sponsoring brand as well. However, if TAM Media research’s ratings for the target CS 4+ in Maharashtra is observed, it is clear that these events work very well for the channel. In the last six months, the battle is between Alpha Marathi and ETV Marathi with the latter taking the lead in most weeks. The third regional channel is DD Sahyadri.
However, on February 14, 2004, Alpha Marathi stood top on the chart of regional channels, courtesy the fifth Alpha Gaurav awards. The show was pitched directly against the Hindi version of Titanic on Star Gold. In this week, the channel has claimed more share than any other channel in Maharashtra, being beaten by only Star Plus and the cable regional segment.
According to the data, the channel corners a 5.34 per cent channel share in week 7 ending February 14, 2004. This is the highest it yielded in the last six months. Vaidya explains, “If you study the minute-by-minute rating, Alpha Gaurav has got more than 9 TVRs in Mumbai as well as Maharashtra. In 1 mn+ towns this event got as high as 10.6 TVRs. The channel share of Alpha Gaurav within Marathi regional channels was 91% in Mumbai and 86% all over Maharashtra in CS 4+. This speaks of the loyalty of the Marathi viewers.”
As per Vaidya, entertainment for the Marathi audience is divided in general and active entertainment. He explains, “Daily soaps, weeklies and other such programmes are general entertainment. The connect that we have with the audience doesn’t emerge from these alone. This is where active entertainment like mini events and ground level activities come in place and we indulge in these throughout the year. This channel has a special place in their life.”
The channel includes inter-college competitions across Maharashtra, help lines, prime time news and hourly updates to dish local content. “We represent the ethos of Maharashtrian mindset. This is the channel’s USP. Our content is unique to the Marathi audience, like theatre. We do such events on a monthly basis and are actively present on ground. Now with the elections in mind, we will launch two-three new current affairs programmes that will give more election-related local information than other channels.”
As per Vaidya, Alpha Gaurav is where all ground activities for the year culminate and the beginning of next year’s works is marked. “We initiated these awards as a celebration of the glory of the channel’s language. The channel was launched in 1999, and since 2000, Alpha Gaurav is a regularly planned activity, to the extent that I know now when the promos of the awards next year will be aired.”