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Quick five with RBNL’s Sunil Kumaran

01-April-2013
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Quick five with RBNL’s Sunil Kumaran

The regional space is evolving very rapidly with networks extending their channel strength to the regional pockets of India. Given there is a huge untapped potential, RBNL launched Big Magic Bihar and Jharkhand, which would cater to the specific markets with relevant offerings.

In conversation with exchange4media, Sunil Kumaran, Business Head, Regional Television Channels, Reliance Broadcast Network shares his perspective on the evolution of regional content in India, the viewership trends and the content and marketing strategy of the newly launched channel.

After establishing itself as a regional player in Central India with its channels Big Magic and Big RTL Thrill, RBNL has extended the Big Magic lineage with Big Magic Bihar and Jharkhand. Could you elaborate on its programming strategy?
We launched Big Magic in the UP, MP, Bihar region and this was primarily from the understanding that there is need for a channel in the regional space. Owing to our significant presence in this region, and our deep understanding of the market, it gives a unique advantage compared to the others in terms of our ability to comprehend what works well in the market. We are much rooted than any national player since our teams are also based in that region.

We are a regional entertainment channel or a general entertainment channel focussed on a particular market. Since these markets are already serviced by the Hindi speaking channels, what the audiences are looking for is something different from the general entertainment channel and at the same time, something that is relevant and resonates with their understanding. We understand their psyche and most of our shows are fairly rooted in the market. We do shows that are completely 360 degree, which implies that we actually go into the market, activate the market, and then commence the show which gets further amplified on radio, TV and all other platforms. We have undertaken shows such as ‘Big Memsaab’, which is a woman emancipation platform with a 25 plus TG showcasing their talent.  We go to around eight to 10 centers across Bihar, hold auditions, activate the market for a week, and dedicate a one week TV series for that market.

We also do shows for different demographics. We are launching a show called ‘Big Fame Star’ which is a hunt for a movie star. Here the target audience is youth (15-24 yrs). Hence we would go to colleges, youth hangouts and do similar set-ups for the activation of markets, calling people for auditions, etc. For fiction shows, we undertake in-depth research in the market to understand what would be relevant. We have a show in the crime genre titled ‘The Police Files’ hosted by Ravi Kishan, which has real stories from Bihar. When audiences watch these shows, it resonates with them.

What are the marketing initiatives that are undertaken by the channel for the promotion of these shows?
In Bihar, we first launched the channel and then introduced show specific communication. The key property that we are currently promoting is ‘The Police Files’ after which we would be launching ‘Big Memsaab’. So from the marketing point of view, we have used all kinds of media such as print, outdoor, on-ground and our network channels as well. We usually undertake a fairly 360 degree kind of marketing campaign. As we have been present in the market since a long time, our reach is fairly huge and hence, the marketing campaigns very strong.

How have you seen your programming and marketing strategy translate in terms of viewership and revenue?
The channel has been observing high viewership since its launch. According to TAM Data for Week 9-10 ’13, CS 25+, Females, Bihar + Jharkhand, Big Magic Bihar and Jharkhand is the most watched channel among women in the region. During this period, the channel earned 40 GRPs from the above mentioned target audience in the market.

In terms of advertising, most of the advertisers have shown interest though what happens typically is that Bihar is relatively media dark and hence, the options to advertise are fairly limited

According to you, how has the regional content evolved in India?
These markets already are catered by Hindi GECs as well, so in order to venture into these markets, one needs to have a differentiated content to start with and should have a unique role for the marketer, from the revenue perspective as well. We have understood that aspect and hence, most of our platforms are fairly deep rooted and provide a multiple touch-point kind of experience and platform to advertisers. So yes, revenues will stack up considerably in this region provided you have differentiated content, which viewers prefer and a unique positioning.

Lastly, some targets marked for this year…
We want to be the leaders in the field and going in that direction. We have a lot of non-fiction shows planned out and a host of fiction shows as well. We will continue to be in this path and have observed success in whatever we have done, but you will see more of this happening across our platforms. We will start targeting various kinds of demographics and talk to female, youth and male through different programming offerings.

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