Shankar B is the CEO of Fourth Dimension, which handles the ad sales for Tamil channel Puthiya Thalaimurai. The group is now gearing up to launch a GEC Pudhu Yugam and Fourth Dimension has been given the mandate to handle the ad sales for the upcoming channel as well.
In conversation with exchange4media, Shankar speaks at length about the South market, specifically the Tamil Nadu market, and how advertisers view this market, besides sharing Fourth Dimension’s plans for Puthiya Thalaimurai and more…
What is the kind of differentiation that is required to rope in advertisers for a general entertainment channel?
For a GEC, the simple rule is to get advertisers who deal with products that will connect with the female audience since the major TG would be housewives. Our challenge is to get more FMCG, consumer durables and personal care brands on board. In GECs, the smallest player will have at least 150 GRPs, but when it comes to the news genre, the largest player will have 150 GRP ratings. Scale is huge as far as GECs are concerned, hence it is the most challenging task for a company like us to rope in advertisers, and that too for a South market.
Fourth Dimension is handling ad sales for Puthiya Thalaimurai. How have you been able to reach the expectations of the channel?
I and my team have been working hard to meet their expectations and I think we have done it successfully. We are the No. 1 news channel in Tamil Nadu. I feel that Tamil Nadu as a state has not been leveraged to its fullest and have been trying to meet advertisers across the India to make them understand the importance of the state and also the strong content that Puthiya Thalaimurai has been delivering for its consumers.
Puthiya Thalaimurai is now all geared up to launch its new GEC, Pudhu Yugam. Will you be handling the new channel’s ad sales?
Yes, we are going to handle the ad sales for Pudhu Yugam as well. We are very excited to work for a GEC. It’s a challenge to get as many new advertisers as possible. Today, the world is getting innovative and viewers, too, are looking for innovations. We are trying to fulfil the expectations of the viewers as well as the channel.
What are the challenges that Fourth Dimension has faced in the last two years?
Our promoters have been supportive. As far as challenges are concerned, DAS has not yet been implemented fully in Tamil Nadu and the digitisation process is still moving in a slow pace. On the other hand, advertisers have been myopic about Tamil Nadu. They are either ignorant or are not aware about the state. The problem is that advertisers don’t look beyond ratings and merely take quantitative calls. There is enough money in the South and enough brands. Most of the top rated FMCG companies exist in Chennai.
Our team of Bharath Viswanathan, COO; Sridhar, Business Head – South; Balakrishnan, Regional Head – South; Srikant, National Sales Head; and Jayanta and Thyagraj, Regional Heads for North and West, respectively, has played a significant role in making Fourth Dimension the No. 1 outsourcing company based out of South India.
We are trying to evangelise brand Tamil Nadu.
What are the focus areas for Fourth Dimension over the next two years? Where is the growth primarily going to come from?
We would like to be the No. 1 company and remain the largest media player in the market. We are and will continue to be looked at as a one-stop solution for the southern media. Growing and maintaining the No. 1 position will be our focus. I personally feel that doing what has not been done by anyone in the market should be the primary focus for any player.
Fourth Dimension is also looking to leverage the rapid growth in mobile users. How are you looking to tap this growing TG?
Representing a media company such as Puthiya Thalaimurai and now, Pudhu Yugam, digital and mobile have been the topmost priority for us. I feel advertisers should treat both mobile and digital differently and utilise them only after gaining complete knowledge about the media. Just the numbers will not help the industry, rather in-depth knowledge and expertise is the need of the hour. Focus should be on the captive audience. Unless marketers look beyond traditional media, new media will never grow.
What are the future plans of Puthiya Thalaimurai? How well has Fourth Dimension contributed to its growth in the market space, where Sun Networks have been the ruler for decades?
The future plan is to grow as the No. 1 channel in Tamil Nadu. Our endeavour is to get more and more national and regional brands on the same platform and leverage both equally. We are one of the most well recognised outsourcing agencies in the South and we have proved that by having Puthiya Thalaimurai as our client.
We would like to take a digital leap at some stage and get more brands to the southern market.