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STAR’s regional gamble in Maharashtra pays off

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STAR’s regional gamble in Maharashtra pays off

We have seen every broadcasting network take the regional channels route and it seems this strategy has paid off. Regional channels are today doing well; in fact they are doing better than GECs in some regions.

According to the data shared by STAR, Star Pravah, which is the third regional channel from the STAR Network, is currently leading the total Maharashtra market with maximum 267 GRPs at an average in Q3 period (Week 27–Week 39) among CS 4+ TG. The channel has also seen 11 per cent growth compared to Q2 period where the average for channel was 241 GRPs.

Star Pravah beats not only the Marathi GE channels but also tops the charts when compared to both, Hindi and Marathi GE channels. Zee TV ranks number two in the market with 254 GRPs in Q3 followed by Sony Entertainment Television with 248 GRPs in the latest quarter.

It won’t be wrong to say that STAR’s move has been vindicated. Yogesh Manwani, Senior Vice President – Marketing, STAR Pravah takes us through the channel’s journey…

“Regional brands have a different set of audiences. The percentage of marathi speaking population is 60 per cent upwards and in that sense the majority population accross genders, age groups, social strata is actually Marathi speaking,” said Manwani.

Commenting on the wide reach of the channel, Manwani stated, “The numbers clearly come from the back of both, reach and time spent. Therefore, I would say that the content is not necessarily catering to one particular audience but is cutting across evenly.”

The data also states that Star Pravah ranks number one in Mumbai with an average of 308 GRPs in Q3 period, (304 GRPs in Q2’2012) thereby leading the market in consecutive last two quarters. Sony Entertainment Television ranks number two in the market with 284 GRPs in latest quarter, followed by Colors ranking number three with 256 GRPs. ETV Marathi averages 237 GRPs in the Q3 period, whereas Star Plus is at 191 GRPs and Life OK is at 101 GRPs in Q3 period.

The channel has shared that Star Pravah also ranks number one in Pune. In the latest Q3 period, Star Pravah averages 446 GRPs (345 GRPs in Q2’12) followed by Zee TV ranking number two with 229 GRPs in the Q3 period.

Manwani said that the cumulative reach of Pravah is 85 to 90 per cent which proves that almost everyone is watching it in the immediate universe. A couple of years ago before the Marathi space grew, the viewership was restricted to certain audiences and markets but with Pravah, the viewers have responded to the programming content.

Stressing that the number across the different markets and audiences is uniform, Manwani stated, “Star Pravah has been performing across all markets. We are uniform everywhere so we are 300 + in Mumbai, 450+ in Pune and so on. We are almost similar and cater to everyone.”

According to Manwani, the rationale behind STAR Network branching out to regional channels is to have a dominant share across audiences, markets and genres. STAR forayed into the regional business only because it believes there is potential. The network had identified audiences whom the channel could cater to by specialised offering of programming content in the language they are most comfortable with.

Content strategy
Commenting on the programming content, Manwani shared that fiction dominates and leads like in any other GEC.

As a part of the programming mix, Star Pravah also airs non-fiction shows, daily movies and special weekend movies. Within fiction space, the channel telecasts shows catering to different audience sets. There are fiction shows that cater to women of the household as well as certain shows that are targeted towards men and kids.

Manwani believes that the target audience is culturally deep rooted but at the same time they are contemporary and moving with time like the rest. So the characters of Pravah’s shows are also based on the same ideology. They are rooted to culture, contemporary, aspirational and depict strong characters whom audiences can relate to and connect.

“While the objective remains to narrate the story in an entertaining and engaging way, there are certain messages that we also intend to convey through the shows,” added Manwani.

Marketing initiatives
The channel designs its marketing campaign depending on the audiences and markets they are trying to reach out to. Manwani stated, “Since the channel itself is a huge platform where we get a lot of viewers, the channel is able to engage with them and inform them through it primarily. At the same time, our idea is to try and include more and more people through different activities. It is very important to build a relationship with the target audience rather than purely informing and creating awareness.”

The channel has undertaken various activities to constantly engage the audience and further deepen the bond since the last one and a half years. The channel has organised on-ground initiatives where it provides the viewers with an opportunity to interact with their favourite characters and have fun with them thorough games, etc. The channel has presence on digital and social media platforms.

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