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HT seeks to ‘Switch on Mumbai’

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HT seeks to ‘Switch on Mumbai’

Hindustan Times is set to launch a new initiative – ‘Switch on Mumbai. Switch off TV’ – which seeks to get Mumbaikars to switch off their TV sets and step out to explore and enjoy Mumbai with family and friends. The initiative is meant for a day on January 29, 2011.

Speaking to exchange4media, Salil Sadanandan, Business Head (West and South), Hindustan Times, explained, “At Hindustan Times, Mumbai, we have always believed in going beyond mere news by looking at how we can enhance our readers’ lives. Whether it is through initiatives that enrich their knowledge on education and careers in this city or by taking a citizen’s charter to the government. We have always believed in putting the needs of Mumbaikars and the city first. This is yet another demonstration of how seriously we take this responsibility. By inviting Mumbaikars from all walks of life to switch off TV for a day on January 29, we are encouraging them to spend quality time with their family and friends. The city of Mumbai has a lot to offer – monuments, heritage sites, national parks, beach side promenades, streets, etc. By spending a day away from TV, we are encouraging them to explore the city, discover little known places and reconnect with friends and family. The early feedback has been very positive.”

In a city where everyone is constantly complaining about the lack of quality time, HT seeks to empower the residents to find some. Over the next couple of weeks HT will disseminate a lot of information on how Mumbaikars can make use of this day. Guides on where to go, what to do, the little gems in Mumbai not too many people are aware of. The whole gamut – from heritage walks to eating out guides to parks and open spaces – will be covered. While trying not to be prescriptive, HT was giving the readers a whole bouquet of ideas to choose from, including altruistic and charitable pursuits, informed Sadanandan.

On January 29, a slew of exciting events and activities are being planned. Helicopter rides over the city for a lucky 50; a sound and light show at Juhu; a wishing tree at Inorbit, Malad; discounts at over 300 restaurants and cafes; heritage walks; painting competition for school children; visit to the naval dockyard and the aircraft carrier INS Viraat; stand-up comedy shows and family entertainment events at many high footfall areas to name a few.

Industry has mixed views
Commenting on HT’s initiatives, PM Balakrishnan, Vice President, Percept Media, said, “It is an interesting thought process and I am sure some value will come out of it, as the premise of time constraint in Mumbai is true. However, in terms of what it will do for brand HT and whether or not we can leverage this opportunity is something I am not sure of yet. Right now, it looks like a print versus TV battle to me. It will definitely create a ‘connect’ with the readers. However, we will have to wait and watch as the initiative unfolds.”

Dinesh Vyas, Head MEC, Team Reliance, said, “I firmly believe that today, readers do not like being told what to do. We have to take it for granted that they are smart and not question their intelligence. We can’t give them directives and ask them to ‘Switch off TV’. But this initiative could work wonders and create a consumer connect if HT is able to show them what they are missing by spending hours on TV. They have to give the power in the hands of the consumers to make this initiative work on a large scale. They have to show the consumer that there is a lot to gain by switching off their TV sets for a single day, and if they are able to do this successfully, I think the initiative could be a hit.” 

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