It’s just a matter of a few hours before one more channel joins the fierce competition in the Hindi general entertainment genre. Real is set to launch tonight and the channel has devised not only a mass media marketing plan, but some interesting innovations to create buzz around the channel’s debut. In addition to this, Real has managed another first of sorts by being present not only on the cable platform, but also on the direct-to-home services DishTV and Tata Sky from its launch day.
Sunil Lulla, Director, Real Global Broadcasting, said, “The expansion of digitisation across Indian metros and hinterland has more than doubled in terms of viewing homes. DishTV and Tata Sky provide us with an ideal platform to reach our target viewers. Real, which is targeted towards the Neo Indian, is proud to offer to its target audience availability on both analogue cable systems and digital platforms.”
What stands out in the Real marketing is the kind of innovation that the channel has attempted across different mediums. The channel’s Marketing Head, Vidyuth Bhandary, explained that the objective was not to create a regular marketing plan, but to innovate in every medium to be able to engage audiences in a relevant manner. Bhandary said, “Even while using a mass media vehicle, our attempt has been to use it innovatively. We have paid attention to detail of the marketing plan so that we are not only able to reach our audience, but can also engage them enough to tell them more about the channel and the fact that it is launching on March 2, 2009.”
Innovations galore for Real
Giving a few examples of what the channel has done, Bhandary explained, “In print, we have partnered with the likes of The Hindustan Times, Hindustan and The Times of India, where we have carried innovations on the first page. In the HT innovation, for instance, one-half of the front page of the paper will have their entertainment section with crosswords, cartoons, horoscope, etc. This will shock the reader as he is not used to seeing the entertainment section as the headlines on the front page. When he opens the page to see the second half of the page the penny drops when he sees the line ‘From today, entertainment comes first… Introducing Real, Naya Hindi channel, Naya Hindi entertainment’. This is followed by a review of all our shows exactly the way movie reviews are written. The Hindi readers will also witness this when they pick up the copy of the Hindustan. The Times of India front page innovation is an editorial wrap, where the promotion has been subtly integrated with editorial, yet is in your face to be noticed.”
The channel has also utilised the outdoor medium in a similar fashion. Real has taken two dozen hoardings gift wrapped with a card, which says ‘On 2nd March, we’ll gift you something Real’, which will upwrap on March 2 to announce the channel’s launch. In Mumbai, the channel has organised free BEST bus rides on select routes. Bhandari said, “For the first few days, BEST buses will give free rides to viewers. We are taking 40 buses whose normal routes are from office areas, for example, Nariman Point, Fort, Lower Parel, Bandra Kurla Complex, and Andheri, to the closet railway station. These buses will not charge the viewers anything. The bus panels will say ‘Take this free ride. Go Home. Watch Real. Real launches tonight at 8 pm’.”
The channel is also doing activities in select gyms and malls in Mumbai and Delhi “to bring alive Real’s brand proposition – Real people, Real stories, Real Entertainment”. Elaborating further, Bhandary said, “In gyms, we have placed TV cutouts with the line and Real logo so that members can see themselves on TV while exercising, which is to drive home the message that Real is a channel for people like you and me.” At malls, the channel has an LCD TV screen where the viewers can see themselves.
‘Sarkaar’ gets Real attention
The OOH medium has also been used significantly for its driver reality show ‘Sarkaar Ki Duniya’. Real has also put together traffic sign boards saying ‘Sarkaar ki Duniya 753 km ahead’ to create some intrigue amongst the viewers. The channel has also partnered with Cafe Coffee Day outlets in Mumbai and Delhi, where it has created tent cards for the show that would be put up in the launch week inviting customers to play the Sarkar Game.
Another on-ground viral that is planned for the launch week would see well dressed men and women in jackets and suits carrying logs at high traffic junctions to suggest the tasks of ‘Sarkaar Ki Duniya’. The radio partners of the channel are being used to bring out this scale of the tasks. Real has already been busy with many radio innovations. Radio Mirchi was the partner for ‘Sarkaar Ki Duniya’, where the show took over the channel, interrupting RJs, making them do tasks, and RJs took help from listeners to fulfill these tasks. Radio City, too, was a partner for profiling the contestants of ‘Sarkaar Ki Duniya’. Also, channels like IBN7 and Zoom were used to integrate ‘Sarkaar’ in the content of the channels.
Bhandary made no pretense of the fact that a channel like Real needed a viral impact in its marketing. Some of the steps that the channel has undertaken to create this, include ‘skits’ in local trains in Mumbai, where a group of theatre professionals get into a local train compartment dressed as the contestants of ‘Sarkaar Ki Duniya’. The group breaks into an argument, get the commuters’ attention and by the time the travellers realise that it is a show promotion, the drama team is ready to move to the next compartment. In Delhi, groups of volunteers will stand together reading the newspaper where Real has executed innovations, ensuring it is done in manner that others around also notice and discuss the innovation, and hence Real.
From tonight, Real is competing with the likes of Star, Sony, Colors and NDTV Imagine. One would soon know what kind of an impact would the channel have on the Indian television space. Watch this space for more.
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RGB’s GEC called ‘Real’; expected to launch in March 2009