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Simulcast & content sharing = Audience aggregation

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Simulcast & content sharing = Audience aggregation

The STAR Plus show ‘Satyamev Jayate’ was simulcast on STAR World, STAR Utsav, STAR Pravah, STAR Jalsha, Asianet and STAR Vijay within the STAR Network and other channels including DD National and Eenadu TV.

Colors TV, Sahara One and Geo TV (a Pakistani channel) will also simulcast ‘Sur-Kshetra’. The singing reality show will feature upcoming singers and judges from both sides of the border.

BIG CBS Networks which has recently acquired the latest season six of ‘America’s Got Talent’ will simulcast the show across BIG CBS Network channels namely BIG CBS Prime, BIG CBS Love and BIG CBS Spark.

‘Coke Studio’ until last year was telecasted on MTV and Colors. But this year it will also be on DD National in a bid to showcase the show to non- cable and satellite audiences.

Television channels today are implementing various strategies for aggregating audiences and increasing viewership along with retaining original viewers. The latest is the influx of shows which are shared by two or more channels. Though content sharing between channels is not an entirely new concept, it has been garnering a lot attention lately.

Commenting on the rationale behind the simulcast of ‘America’s Got Talent’, Tarun Katial, CEO, Reliance Broadcast Network stated, “Our channels cater to different audiences in the SEC A segment. CBS Prime is for urban males, CBS Love for urban contemporary females and CBS Spark for urban youth. ‘America’s Got Talent’ is perfectly suited for all three audiences. It is a show that starts and ends with entertainment. Limiting this show to one channel and a particular TG was not fair. Hence, we decided to simulcast the show on all the three channels and extend our reach to our TG across these three channels.”

According to Katial, it is only when one launches a universally popular concept like ‘America’s Got Talent’ can simulcast be adopted as a strategy since it appeals to a wide set of audiences.

Simulcast as a strategy needs to be adopted by channels selectively based on the content of the shows that they launch. Apart from increasing the viewer base, the properties which are simulcast offer networks a wider base of brands to collaborate with. And at the same time, brands benefit from an increased reach of just one property.

“If a channel or network realises that they have a property that appeals to TG across several channels then they will definitely consider simulcast as an option. The strategy works better for a network which already has a wide bouquet of channels as compared to stand-alone channels,” added Katial.

Channels are also further foraying into content sharing within network channels. For example, ‘Gumrah’ is telecasted on Channel V and Star Plus.

Prem Kamath, Executive VP and GM, Channel V shared, “As more and more channels converge in their markets, audiences and offerings, there are greater synergies to be explored. Instead of treating each other as acute rivals, we try to see where we can benefit off each other, especially within the network. Since the episodes are not simulcast, the advertisers for the channels are distinct. We see no change in advertiser behaviour due to content sharing.”

Typically it is understood that Channel V and Star Plus will have distinctly unique audiences. According to Kamath, Channel V would benefit from newer audiences being exposed to their property through STAR Plus and a chance to have them sample the next season if they like the show.

“STAR Plus gets to host a show that has already done reasonably well amongst our audience and by virtue of their reach, they are ensuring sampling of good content amongst a wide audience. So both have something to gain in this set-up,” added Kamath.

Apart from content share within network channels, channels are also sharing content with competing channels. The season two of ‘Coke Studio’ will also be seen on DD National.

Commenting on the association, Aditya Swamy, EVP and Business Head, MTV India said, “The audience today is fragmented and this initiative would help increase the reach and garner attention from the target audience.”

Swamy concluded by saying that the channel believes in creating content and putting it across platforms to reach varied audiences. Multiple platforms help in effective consumption of content, which is what ultimately channels aim for in the long run.

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