Channels extend on-air identities off screen

In a bid for greater consumer connect, channels are venturing into uncharted territories by launching cafés to board games

e4m by Synjini Nandi
Published: Nov 6, 2012 8:48 PM  | 4 min read
Channels extend on-air identities off screen

In today’s cut-throat competitive world, it is not enough for broadcasters to just follow traditional modes of advertising. The current scenario calls for innovative and out-of-box thinking. Some TV channels have understood this and hence, we are seeing a music channel launch a café or a general entertainment channel launch a game board.

Channels today are no more content on just being limited to one platform but are keen to explore various other avenues to leverage their brand identity further and connect to the target audience beyond television.

Off-air brand extensions have become the order of the day. We have seen kids’ channels and music channels venturing into consumer durables market. But now they seem to be extending brand merchandising to even retail. 

Channel V has earlier organised hangouts at cafés, pubs, malls, multiplexes. This then led to the launch of V Spot Café in Saket and Gurgaon. The channel plans to further extend this to other cities such as Pune, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Bangalore, Kolkata, etc.

“The youth spends about 21 per cent of their time on TV while the rest is on other things. Kamath believes that it is necessary to create activities outside of TV as well in order to engage this TG,” said Prem Kamath, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Channel V, Star India.

MTV has always been active in brand merchandising. It started with its association with Global Fragrance to launch MTV range of body sprays (deodorants) and eau de toilettes (EDTs) for men and women. MTV consumer products today extends into more than fifteen categories such as innerwear, adventure bikes, footwear, lingerie, eye-wear, bags, stationery & paper, debit cards, mobile phones, etc. Its key licensees include Bwitch, Citibank, Crusoe, Firefox, Aureole-Inspecs, BILT, Lava, PLG, J K Ansell and Mochi, amongst others.

Now even, Hindi general entertainment has joined the bandwagon. Sab TV has forayed into the consumer durable category and introduced a board game called ‘ The channel has associated with Pegasus (operating with the brand name ‘Toy Kraft’) for the manufacturing and distribution of the game.

According to the channel, the main objective was to create a game which would help get the family together and resonate with the channel’s philosophy. The game is also an initiative by the channel to personalise fiction content and provide a chance to fans to interact with their favourite characters in their characteristic styles.

Coming to the kids genre, Nickelodeon India has joined hands with TI Cycles to launch a new range of bicycles and tricycles for the Indian market. The products are designed around two of Nickelodeon’s popular characters – Ninja Hattori and Dora, the Explorer.

Commenting on the initiative, Sandeep Dahiya, Senior Vice President Consumer Products and Communications, Viacom18 Media stated, “Nickelodeon being a kids’ channel is a platform and a destination that has characters which appeals to our younger audiences. It also has an appeal beyond television. Hence, such an association would definitely help extend the engagement factor further. Eventually everything boils down to connecting with the kids and building on it.”

Taking the engagement quotient even further, Nickelodeon India is set to introduce its own sub brands in the Indian market namely Nick Explore, Nick Sports and Nick Action.

The first edition from this kitty is ‘Nick Explore’ in association with Mexus Education. The Nick Explore range of instructive toys and games would expose kids to the fundamentals of science in an aim to increasing their imagination and analytical power. These edutainment games are targeted at eight years and above, with 24 different models. Nick Explore includes rocking chairs, quad bikes, 360 degree cannons, walking robots, retro planes, earthquake meters, etc. 

Apart from TV channels, brand merchandising has also become an important strategy for movie production houses. Now merchandising goes beyond movie releases – meaning it is not just restricted to a certain movie release as in the case of Ra One but has become a wholesome strategy. A case in point is the launch of an exclusive range of ‘Yash Raj Films’ merchandise at ‘The Bombay Store’ earlier this year. The branded merchandise consists of home décor and fashion accessories such as mugs, bags, shot glasses, cushion covers, ties and coasters – of Yash Raj movies over the years.

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