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BIG CBS to launch Love on March 21; MEC, McCann on board

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BIG CBS to launch Love on March 21; MEC, McCann on board

BIG CBS has announced the launch of its women-centric channel for urban couples – Love – on March 21, 2011. The second channel in the offering will also be managed by group’s media partner MEC and creative partner McCann, with the packaging designed by Steinbranding.

As is known, BIG CBS Prime, the first channel from the partnership between the two broadcasters, CBS Studios International and Reliance Broadcasting Network Ltd (RBNL), went live on December 1, 2010, as an English general entertainment channel. The channel has now been in the market for three months and claims to have reached 30 million relevant audiences. Using the platform and the occasion of the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, the network announced the launch date for its second channel, Love.

Love had initially been tentatively announced as a ‘women’s’ channel, but has finally been positioned as a ‘feel good destination’ channel for the urban working couple. Speaking to exchange4media, Aparnaa Pandey, General Manager, BIG CBS, spoke about the channel’s programming and orientation mix. She said, “Love will have everything that a woman would want to watch. It is a women-skewed channel, but it is very inclusive so it has everything that a couple can come and watch together, making it a feel good destination channel. We have the latest seasons of ‘Oprah’ on television after a long time, ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’, new shows that have not been shown in India, such as the ‘The Talk’, movies and special programming over the weekend.”

The channel had organised a panel of women from different areas of the television industry to share their views on their entertainment preferences and expectations to set the stage for the need of the channel. Present on the panel was Punitha Arumugam, CEO, Madison Media, who shared her insights on parameters set by advertisers in associating with a channel or a property. According to her, “Advertisers chose to associate with a property depending on various parameters. Thus, kids brands consciously do not chose to be seen on channels that cater to a certain age group. The TV advertising industry is pegged at about Rs 12 crore today, but in terms of revenues, less than 5 per cent sales in most categories comes from the evolved, well educated woman. Up to 60 per cent revenues comes from the masses that are catered to by regular Hindi GECs, as per the money available in the market. Varied content is available in terms of infotainment channels, but people are not taking the effort to watch it.”

Love will be a paid channel and test runs are currently in place. Commenting on advertiser interest for the channel so far, Pandey said, “We are just about starting out in the market as Prime has already caught on well with the advertisers, so I don’t see an issue. Love also starts off on a better platform as the base has been laid out.”

Being a one of its kind in its segment, Love currently faces no immediate competition in its genre as a ‘women-centric couple’s feel good channel’. In the light of the current burst of newly launched specialty channels for women based on food such as Zee’s Khana Khazana and Sanjeev Kapoor’s FoodFood, does the channel directly compete with other channels catering to women? Pandey disagrees, “I don’t think that a woman is about cooking anymore. The time is not to equate women and cooking; it is a clichéd idea. I don’t think we are in competition.”

BIG CBS Spark, the youth channel from the network, is scheduled to be launched in April. Pandey informed that from a TAM perspective, the channel would be targeting all metros with the core audience being SEC A, 15-35, males and females. The channel will showcase about seven hours of fresh programming at the outset. The channel will be available across digital cable and DTH platforms.


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