Next week, A+E Networks®| TV18’s factual entertainment channel FYI TV18 will launch two big ticket local productions focusing on relationships: ‘Real 2 States Couples’ hosted by bestselling author Chetan Bhagat and ‘Rivals-in-law’ by chef Vicky Ratnani.
Avinash Kaul, President- Strategy, Product, and Alliances, Network18 and Managing Director A+E Networks®| TV18 said, “As the market dynamics in the media sector continues to evolve, it exposes niches waiting to be exploited. With general entertainment going increasingly rural and mass, there is an underserved demand for convivial and progressive content. We believe that in FYI™ TV18, with relationships at its core, we have a winner. Hopefully this channel will usher in new content which is aimed at progressive audiences in India”
Moreover, Kaul insists the need for this kind of channel, “If you see the content right now there’s the first level GECs; the second level GECs have gone into the same zone; the third ones are the repeat channels. There’s an opportunity to do progressive content with the second one while still catering to the masses with the first one. Unfortunately that hasn’t happened. Hence we felt there was the need to get out with a channel like this.”
From a distribution footprint, Kaul is targeting 80-90 million households in the next 90 days for the channel that’s available across all DTH players, “It’s going to be relatively mass as we are targeting the middle and top of the pyramid.” On the distribution front, FYI™ TV18 will leverage its partnership with IndiaCast, to ensure connectivity unmatched in the genre. A mass media campaign will be unveiled soon. The HD channel will be down converted to SD as well to reach its target.
Local is the way to go
FYI TV18 will have more than 350 hours of programming, of which more than 100 hours will be local content targeted at the audiences above 15 years of age. Kaul offers, “Roughly around 30-40% of the content will be local and produced in India. There will be more local shows on the primetime. Rest will be international like ‘Man Vs Child’, ‘Tiny House Nation’ and ‘Married at First Sight’. In a year we will roughly do 8-9 local shows. There is a home improvement show with a celebrity designer that’s coming up in the middle of August. We may have a season two of ‘Rivals-in-law’.”
On content strategy, he stresses on the main points, “Relationships, food and home improvement are the main pillars of our content strategy. Whatever we are doing relationship is the core of the channel. So ‘Rivals-in-law’ is more about relationship than food.” The channel will have a mix of Hindi and English content. He explains, “English content will be dubbed into Hindi. So if you are watching it in Hindi, the experience will be all Hindi.” Besides Hindi, the channel will have Tamil and Telegu feed.”
Scope of profitability
From the revenue perspective, Kaul is hopeful, “We believe we have a good content proposition and advertisers are warming up to a channel like this. Our content lends itself to a lot of product integration and many other formats of monetization which we haven’t done yet but we are getting queries.”
Kaul hopes to break even in the third year and has got around four advertisers on board, “For the local content we are looking at Rs 5,000 plus for 10-second ad slot. For more hours of local that we do, automatically the channel’s ER average rate goes up. That should be well on our way to achieve profitability by third year.”
The channel is experimenting with social media to bring in their TG. “We are looking at live Facebook webcasting for the shows. We started off with one that almost got us traction from 350,000 people for one hour (that we did),” he shares.
The factual entertainment category claiming only 1.1% of viewership pie has lately seen new entrants like TravelXP, Insight Channel and Living Foodz. Additionally, channels like Sony BBC Earth, Living Travelz, Living Rootz and Living Homez are all waiting to launch and further expand the genre. Kaul is harping on its ‘progressive content’ to be its USP. “We are getting the best production houses. BBC is producing the two state couple and Shashi Sumeet is producing ‘Rivals-in-law.’ We are not cutting any corners when it comes to content that will make the difference.” He is expecting the category to expand given the push on distribution, marketing and investment on content.