After undergoing a layout change in June this year and increasing its rural focus in key markets such as Maharashtra, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh, What’s On India channel now wants to beef up its distribution to 35 million homes from the current 20 million homes.
Launched in December 2009, What’s On India is touted as the first channel dedicated to TV guidance in India. Late in June 2010, the channel unveiled a new layout, which plays promos and recommendations continuously, besides having a dedicated screen for recommendations as well for playing videos and exclusive broadcaster content at the same time.
Talking about the audience reaction to the new layout, Atul Phadnis, CEO, What’s-On-India claimed that the viewership had been surging both in terms of reach and time spent. “The new look of the channel has made it possible for every segment to embrace the What’s-On-India channel’s proposition. While the old design was too clever and hence, was adopted primarily by younger audiences, the new design has cut into all age groups as well as different pop-strata,” he added.
At the same time, the channel had also launched two shows (‘My Child’s TeeVee’ and ‘First on What’s On’). Talking about the content, Phadnis said that the objective of the channel was to ensure that the right content reached the right eyeballs and all future programming would also be directed towards that goal by matchmaking between right content and right viewers in more new and innovative ways.
He further said, “A lot of independent cable operators across the country have voluntarily put us up in their feed because they consider the channel almost as an index channel and a value add for their subscribers.”
Currently, the channel has exclusive content deals with the likes of Star, Zoom, Discovery and Turner, among others. Plans are afoot to announce new arrangements with music companies, broadcast networks and home shopping.
The channel is also very gung- ho about venturing into regional markets. Phadnis said that since June, their focus on regional markets had increased in key regional markets such Maharashtra, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh. “The move is paying off with a host of mini-metros and smaller town audiences developing a strong affinity towards the channel,” he claimed.
It would probably be a little difficult to measure the success of the channel considering the viewers just stop for a bit to obtain information and then move on to a programme of their choice. Phadnis maintained that it was a little bit of a misconception and that What’s-On-India should be seen pretty much like a news channel.
He further explained, “Just like there are some viewers who just catch the headlines, there are some who only come to our channel for the recommendations. But most viewers consume our content just like any other conventional channel. They are watching our shows, the sneak previews of GEC shows as well as our music slots.”
The immediate focus area of the channel is distribution. Phadnis said, “The channel is already reaching 20 million homes and the plan is to grow to 35 million by end of this fiscal. Another focus area is to constantly clarify the television guidance model and expectations of viewers in this new domain. We have invested a lot of time and effort in researching this aspect and constantly pivoting the model towards the right direction.”