Times Network has formally launched its latest channel, Mirror Now, which reached 365,000 viewers per week within just 5 weeks of its soft launch. MK Anand, MD and CEO, Times Network says, “The viewership is continuously improving.” The channel hopes to soon reach the ideal average viewership per week required to stabilize a channel, which is 450,000 -500,000.
The channel, which discusses everyday life issues from crime, corruption and traffic congestion to women’s safety, currently has a 7 per cent market share.
“Mirror Now is distinct from all other news channels,” states Anand. He is looking to capture a 15 per cent market share this fiscal with Mirror Now. “Times Now has a 40-45 per cent market share. I’m saying we will be in the range of a 15 per cent market share in the fiscal from April 2017 to March 2018 with the input costs we have allocated to distribution, manpower, marketing and content. Ideally, we need to get to these numbers by September-October.”
When it comes to ad rates, Anand says they will be in the range of CNN-News18 and India Today. Times Now is 2-2.5 times the figure, he adds.
He is optimistic about the channel being 100 per cent commercially viable. It will bring in revenue by June, he expects. “I would look at the ramp being built at in July, August and September. So, by September-October, we get those numbers right.”
He adds, “I really believe Mirror Now will be a dark horse. It has the potential to run away, with numbers rivalling Times Now.”
Anand points out that Times Now is the benchmark for distribution for Mirror Now. “The former is distributed to 94 per cent households. Mirror Now is somewhere between 70-75 per cent. In cable, apart from DEN Networks, we have the distribution fully covered. The same goes for DTH, except for two operators. Once DEN Networks and Videocon d2h get done, we will be distributed on a par with Times Now.”
Spearheaded by Editor Faye D’Souza, the channel hosts the flagship show, The Urban Debate. Anand shares about another tent pole coming through by June-end and that the primetime will be between 8 pm and 11pm.
On the content strategy, he says: “It will be the same as Times Now. It will not have more than one or two stories. On these channels, you can’t expect multiple IPs because people are not interested in seeing one story now followed by another later on. It’s another Times Now in terms of format. But in Times Now, you will take India-based stories, here you will take Indian-based stories.”
“It is not MagicBricks Now,” he emphasised, as the latter served the needs of the gated community. The channel was launched in 2015 and was replaced by Mirror Now in March end.
Our typical marketing budget is usually 10 per cent of the topline spend