Riding high on its repositioning success, an exercise it undertook six months back, The History Channel is now planning to move to the next level, which includes laying more emphasis on appointment viewing. The channel has lined up an interesting fare for the next few months to beef up its weekday offerings.
Six months back, the channel made a decision to shift its focus from being an infotainment channel to an entertainment channel. Commenting on the shift, Nikhil Mirchandani, Managing Director, The History Channel, said, “The shift has really worked for us in terms of advertisers as well as viewers. We are thrilled with the performance of The History Channel since it’s repositioning in May 2006. Our objective was to offer History in an entertaining way on the channel and audience’s response is an indicator of the success.”
As per the TAM data provided by the channel (TG: CS Males, 25+, AB; Market: 5 metros; Period: Pre-launch TAM weeks 1-18 and Post-Launch Tam weeks 19-46), the average weekly reach of the channel has improved by 72 per cent while the time spent on the channel has increased by a whopping 249 per cent. This apart, the channel share has also shot up by 154 per cent, whereas the average ratings have increased by 150 per cent.
The channel’s strategic shift towards entertainment has helped it in adding more advertisers too. According to Mirchandani, around 60 new advertisers had been added on the channel since then. He further said, “We are very happy with the support that we are getting from our advertisers.”
Having tasted the success, the channel is now taking the next leap wherein the focus would be more on weekday programming. Long running series would be a focus area for the channel.
“We are now focusing on forming habits. Having consolidated our position, the next logical step for us is to try and make the viewers watch our channel by appointment, week after week for the same product,” said Joy Bhattacharjya, Senior VP-Programming, The History Channel.
Viewers will be able to see a whole new range of series starting next week. To begin with there will be ‘Sharpe’, ‘The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ featuring Jeremy Brett, and ‘Kennedy’.
Among the other interesting line-up are the mini-series ‘Kane and Abel’ based on Jeffrey Archer’s bestseller of the same name; ‘Dogfight’, which will showcase two planes engaged in an air combat; ‘Shootout’, which looks at heroic acts and deeds done after WW II, and ‘Egypt: An Engineering Empire’, which follows on the success seen earlier with ‘Rome: Engineering An Empire’. Meanwhile, the channel will also step up its India related content. There will be shows like ‘Jewel in the Crown’ based during the British Raj and ‘Bollywood Bosses’.
“This is just the beginning, as we go forward, viewers will see a spectacular line-up of entertaining programmes,” promised Bhattacharjya.
The channel certainly wants to carry forward the growth that it has seen over the past few months. Mirchandani expects 200 per cent growth in ad revenue for the fiscal ending June 2007.
The marketing initiatives would be similar to what the channel has been doing so far. As part of these initiatives, the channel has planned a contest around the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ series.