They are doing everything the other way round. On Monday, Times Global Broadcast Company CEO, Sunil Lulla, informed that the channel had entered into a tie-up with Reliance Infocomm to use its platform to enable the channel to be viewed on handsets. This is the second step, following the ‘barker’ launch some days ago, as part of the channel’s plans for the Indian viewer.
Explaining the strategy, Lulla said, “Channels launch themselves and then get the distribution right. But we took the channel on-air in the form of the ‘barker’ launch, which enabled the audience to sample the channel, and also get our distribution right, and we will now launch the channel very soon.”
Lulla informed that Times Now was already available in ‘urbanite’ homes that the channel was targeting. He further said that while that was one move to give the audience a ‘feel of the news’, the channel had signed a deal with Reliance Infocomm, whereby it could be viewed on Reliance ‘R World’ enabled handsets.
Editor-in-Chief of Times Now, Arnab Goswami, added, “At present, we will be showing news snapshots as the mobile content. Going forward, with the launch of the channel, you will be able to see the channel on the cellphone itself.” As an experience this isn’t new for Goswami, but unlike in his previous stints, this time the mobile content has preceded the small screen debut.
Lulla and his team are still tight-lipped about the channel’s launch date – all that they are prepared to say is “very soon”. Marketing for the channel is already surfacing, where the base line – ‘Feel the News’ – has been played up with copy like – ‘Feel Engaged’, ‘Feel Involved’. The thrust on marketing will increase further closer to the launch.
But why did the channel choose to begin with a mobile launch? Lulla replied, “When we say ‘Feel the News’, we want the viewer to experience it in his hands. There are many today, especially in the TG we are targeting, who are looking for news and even entertainment on the move. This move is to cater to their need and already give a feel of the channel to our viewers before its launch.”
Why Reliance? Lulla pointed out that at present, this was the “only player which has the scale and the technology to execute something like this”. However, since distribution of content is also crucial, the channel is open to working with other players in the domain.