The History Channel has announced its plans to pursue a new strategic direction in India by making a well-defined shift to ‘entertainment’. The channel has also outlined its extensive plans to take forward this move to aggressively drive viewership and advertising revenues. Viewers will get to see the new offerings from the channel starting May 6.
Announcing this in the Capital on Thursday, Nikhil Mirchandani, Managing Director, The History Channel, said, “The History Channel in its two years of existence in India has established itself as a credible authority and owner of the theme of History. This year, we are looking at making the channel stronger and more relevant to our viewers and advertisers by enhancing our offering.”
“Our aim is to retain the essence of The History Channel as we move towards becoming more entertaining in alignment with our viewers’ interests and needs,” he further said.
Commenting on the new programming that will be visible on the channel from May, Joy Bhattacharjya, Senior Vice-President, Programming, The History Channel, said, “We have a spectacular line-up of programmes from May onwards. We are moving onward and adding to our well-researched and entertaining documentaries and serials a whole new line up of the most interesting stories from history presented through mini-series, re-enactments and films.”
Mirchandani explained that the strategic shift from infotainment to entertainment category would be done through investment in movies and programmes acquired from studios like Sony, BBC, etc. “We will be loyal to the theme of history,” he maintained.
Starting May, the programming on The History Channel will deal with events and personalities that are historically significant in an entertaining manner. The channel will be exploring the wide gamut of history without being constrained by formats and will be targeting males and females residing in metros and mini metros (SEC AB) in the 25-44 age group.
The channel was also looking at introducing Indian content in the future for which it was in talks with Doordarshan and some private production houses, informed Bhattacharjya.
Speaking on the new strategic positioning of the channel, Rajesh Sheshadri, Vice-President, Marketing, said, “We are looking at an exponential increase in viewership by 2008. This increase in viewership is a function of first, our distinct positioning, whereby we are the only channel on History; second, the fact that we will debut familiar titles in entertaining formats; and third, versioning wherein the channel is also investing in providing its Hindi-speaking viewers with high quality versioned programming that will enhance their viewing experience and allow them to enjoy internationally acclaimed programmes.”
On the expectations in terms of advertising revenues, Mirchandani said, “We are expecting a spurt in our revenues, we will double our revenue in the next fiscal.”
The channel will be resorting to a 360-degree approach, which will include television, cross channel promotions across STAR Network, cinema, radio, online, and tie-ups with book stores in order to support its marketing blitz.