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We are exploring spaces and niches very closely: Vivek Srivastava, Times Network

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We are exploring spaces and niches very closely: Vivek Srivastava, Times Network

Times Network, has recently announced the launch of a 360 degree ad campaign for its English Entertainment cluster to urge viewers to raise their standards and switch to High Definition (HD) viewing on television. Movies Now HD, Romedy Now HD and MN+ are the channels in the English movie bouquet of the network. The campaign has been conceptualised in-house and Famous Innovation has done the scripting.

Commenting about the rationale behind this campaign, Vivek Srivastava, SVP & Business Head – Times Network, English Entertainment Cluster said, “Since we have a fairly large HD bouquet, we thought it was important for us to propagate HD as a phenomenon. At a fundamental level, there is a bit of learning or push which is required as far as consumers are concerned. Around the world, there are two key genres that push HD viewership- sports and movies. Sports are seasonal and movies largely are the sustainers of this segment. Since we are one of the largest English clusters, we thought it will make sense for us to launch a full-fledged campaign.”

We spoke to Srivastava in order to understand the purpose of their latest 360 degree campaign, mediums used to promote it, marketing spends, plans of launching any new channels and the current challenges in the English movie segment.


What is the rationale behind the launch of your new campaign?

Hollywood is a large format property and unfortunately, people have not been exposed to the HD space. We want people to at least explore it and today largely all broadcasters have their HD channels. This campaign will benefit not only our own English Cluster, but the entire industry. HD channels have shown a 93% increase in viewership over the last year and have doubled their ad volumes. We hope through our campaign we can persuade viewers to subscribe to the HD packs.

Who is the target audience for this new marketing initiative?

Anyone who views Hollywood content and has been watching it on Standard Definition (SD) is our target audience and we would want them to upgrade to HD with the help of this campaign.

Is the objective of the campaign to target the tier ii and the tier iii towns too?

It is estimated that around 12 million HD enabled LCD and LED panels are sold every year, but there are only around 6 million HD subscriptions, so there is immense growth potential. It means every year; people are investing in the equipment, but are not getting the content pipeline. Once the awareness happens, this content pipeline will be available for people to adopt. Like with luxury goods, people living in the tier ii and the tier iii towns have the spending capability. People spend Rs 200-300 for a movie ticket and a HD pack is pretty much that cost, possibly cheaper. So the consumers need to realise that there is value in this product and once they do, they will subscribe.

Which mediums are you focusing more on to promote your new campaign?

The campaign comprises of Television, Digital and Print part. It will start with TV and the ads will run across Times network as well on other networks. The objective of the campaign is to maximise the reach of this message, so TV will be the primary medium of communication.

How long do you plan to sustain this campaign?

We hope to sustain the campaign over a slightly longer period of time; the life of the creative will be for around 6 months. The campaign will have bursts; the first is about a month from now, and the second burst will be somewhere around Diwali. As and when we require to go outside the network, we will do so.

What kind of investment have you put in this marketing initiative?

(Laughs)...As much as the campaign deserves.

Is there any plan of launching new channels this year?

We have a few licenses and we are exploring spaces and niches very closely. It is slightly premature to talk about the launch of any new channel at this moment. But looking at the overall space, specifically in the English segment, there are a lot of content buckets which are possible. Compare it with the Hindi channels; where there are (400-500 active channels), on the other hand, there are only (30-40) English channels which are available. Also English viewership has been growing at a phenomenal level across the metros and mini metros; moreover English is the primary medium of education in most of the schools.

In the mature markets, there are fairly good amounts of content available, which lend them to have specialised channels. On the other hand, we have largely given the consumers- an Indian thali (serving everything in one plate), but there is also a space of gourmet dishes (specialisation). If we can find a segment which is true to the soul of our channel, we will certainly get into that space.”

What are the current challenges in the English Movie segment?

Content is one of the challenges because there are only 3 or 4 studious available. The second challenge is broadcast, which is slightly shy of experimentation in this genre. Also, these are premium channels and they should be treated as premium pay channels and we should get the right buck for the content which we are offering, certainly higher than a few other channels that exist in the pack. I think both on ad sales and on subscription front, we should be slightly higher than what we are. 

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