As Senior Vice President and General Manager, South Asia at Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, Rahul Johri overseas the company’s overall growth strategy in the region, which includes India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, Bhutan and Nepal. In conversation with exchange4media, Johri elaborates on the localisation of content on lifestyle channel TLC, what Indian viewers want to watch and benefits of digitisation.
You are focusing more on localisation of the content, is there something lacking in the international format?
There is nothing lacking in the international format. The international formats are what our channels are made for and we are a global channel and the audience comes for international content. They come to watch global channel and trends. But today, the production takes a long time, it doesn’t come in one day. As the business is gathering momentum, the channels are maturing more and more, hence, India content will also come. But at no point will the character of the channel change, the character of TLC will always be that of an international channel.
What are the key growth drivers for the lifestyle genre?
The key growth driver for lifestyle really is the connect that a channel like TLC has with its audience. It is by far the easiest to consume a lifestyle channel. It sets trends of its own and this works for the growth.
What kind of shows do Indian viewers want in the lifestyle genre?
In this genre, the Indian audience wants the latest trends, whether it is travel, food, clothing or style. They want to be aware of the latest trends. And that’s what we are trying to offer.
With digitisation coming up in a few months, what kind of revenue you are looking for TLC and how it will differentiate the revenue pattern between ad-sales and subscription?
Digitisation is a welcome step. For example, if you will go to a magazine stall, you will see a lot of specialised magazines. The Indian audience has a need for specialised channels in terms of entertainment. However, today the bandwidth of analog cable constrains that. Once that is removed, the market will be there and there will be opportunities for us to provide specialised content to the audience and in that scenario established brands like TLC or Discovery will gain.
Revenue is secondary, what we are looking at is that our channel is available to the audiences which want to see it and once that happens, the engagement will be deeper and better quality of content will flow. And everybody will be a gainer in that.
What is the objective behind the new show ‘What Not To Wear – India’ and who are the advertisers on the board?
The objective is that we have seen lot of attraction for grooming shows. Today, it’s an aspirational audience and people want to look good and do things better. We are a lifestyle channel, so we are delivering on that requirement of the audience. Samsung, HUL, P&G, Titan, Philips, Fiama and Apollo Tyres are some of the advertisers on board for this show.