Rural market seems to be the flavour of the season for Hindi broadcasters with most of them launching their FTA (Free-To-Air) Hindi movie channels to target audiences in those regions.
On May 8, 2016 Viacom18 launched its first Hindi films channel Rishtey Cineplex. More recently Sony Pictures Network added Sony Wah, a Hindi FTA channel to its bouquet. Now, joining them is Star India’s Star Utsav Movies, which is scheduled to launch on May 28, again targeted at the rural market. With Star Utsav, an FTA channel for close to 10 years, Star Utsav Movies is seen as an extension of the former.
Commenting on the launch of the new channel, Hemal Jhaveri, General Manager - Star Gold, Movies OK, Star GOLD HD and Star Utsav Movies said, “It stands apart as India’s first ‘Truly Rural’ Hindi movie channel, designed with the rural viewer in mind. With the advent of BARC, rural markets took the centre stage, with more than half of the TV viewership coming from the heartland. Our analysis indicated that there was a clear need gap in this category since 25% of the total viewership came from movies, but the Hindi movie genre share is a miniscule 5 %. This is because of the non-availability of good content from the existing Hindi movie channels in the FTA space. An extensive research study undertaken to unravel the rural psyche shed light on the key usage and behaviour patterns, which has been the cornerstone for all acquisition, programming and marketing inputs on this new channel offering. What made this research unique and accurate was the fact that it was tailor made to each respondent surveyed, based on their viewing behaviour.”
The channel’s motto is ‘Har Din Utsav’. As someone who finds the rural market to be ‘bigger, larger and much more complex’, Jhaveri shares the insight behind it, “Rural India celebrates small festivals like Nag Panchami by taking a day off and celebrating. If there is a local Navratri in Gujarat you will see a fair amount of activity, and that’s when they usually spend money. That’s why we have crafted this line ‘Har Din Utsav’. That’s what we are building on. We are endeavouring to give our viewers a reason to celebrate every day with the biggest stars on the channel.”
Keeping the rural viewers in mind, the channel’s movie library will predominantly have family inclusive content, followed by kids and romance genres.
Its ad inventory will be similar to that of Star Utsav consisting of categories from FMCG, telecoms and agricultural products. It will be distributing on DD Freedish, the popular DTH platform in rural areas.
Star India is going all out in promoting its new FTA channel with its multi-media launch campaign consisting of an extensive TV, radio and print campaign targeted at the rural audience. ‘Our sister channel Star Utsav is communicating with viewers,” adds Jhaveri. Moreover, there will be unique on-ground activities, offering brand experiences across villages in key markets.
When enquired about the future plans, Jhaveri adds, “We do have plans in terms of investing in catalogue. In a quarter we will know our consumer’s preferences. My instinct says everybody might have to rejig the content strategy.”