Content geared towards younger viewers can be a game-changer: Rani Reddy, Sakshi TV

Rani Reddy, Director, Sakshi Group spoke about the channel’s journey so far, its major achievements, election programming, etc

by Neethu Mohan
Published - Apr 22, 2019 8:16 AM Updated: Apr 22, 2019 8:16 AM
Rani Reddy

Sakshi TV has completed 10 years in the broadcasting industry. They have to their credit being the first end to end HD ready channel in India, the channel identity was designed by Red Bee a BBC network company.

In a conversation with exchange4media, Rani Reddy, Director, Sakshi Group spoke about channel’s journey so far, major achievements of the channel, election programming, etc.

10 years of Sakshi TV. How has the journey been so far?

It is quite similar to the journey of most businesses with initial labour pangs moving to peaks and troughs. Enriching and challenging all along, we did experience highs and lows. One very important aspect was a huge change in the business landscape. From a six-channel market, we rapidly transformed into a market where 17 players were broadcasting News in Telugu. We also faced the challenge of having been born in the combined state of Andhra Pradesh which midway in our journey got bifurcated.

What were the challenges Sakshi TV faced during its initial days and how did you overcome those challenges?

We were a late entrant in the market and there were already established players and they had a first mover advantage. We positioned ourselves as a challenger brand and this meant that we needed to do things differently, but things that would surely work. We also faced mammoth challenges on account of the earlier viewership measurement agency TAM on account of lack of transparency and manipulation that affected not only us but many other players in the Industry.

Can you tell us more about the major achievements of Sakshi TV in the last 10 years?

We survived even though we had TAM as a measurement agency and no other option. After entering the market as the 6th entrant, we worked our way up to the number 3 position. We created a very well admired brand by investing in a good and sustained brand building strategy all through our journey.

Tell us more about the changes adopted by Sakshi TV.

We actually had many firsts to our credit such as being the first end to end HD ready channel in India, our channel identity was designed by Red Bee, a BBC network company. The best assembly of equipment and talent was available at Sakshi from the beginning. The content strategy based on research, as well as quickly adapting to the viewers' needs is what kept us relevant during the journey. Training our people and adopting automation whenever required is hygiene we maintained.

According to BARC data, among the South Indian languages, Telugu has the highest number of average weekly impressions of 275.3 million in the last year. What would be the factors behind this trend?

High level of interest in politics both regional and national. Highly politically polarised population in the two Telugu states. High literacy levels of viewers, as well as content strategy tailored by News channels offering a mix of news, views, knowledge and entertainment.

The BARC data also says that the News genre contributes to 7% of TV viewership in South India. What can Sakshi TV as a regional player do to increase the viewership contribution?

It has to be focussed on the content mix being skewed towards the younger viewers, which can be the game changer.

Can you throw some light on the content line up by Sakshi TV during the Lok Sabha election period?

Content has been largely around News and it will continue to be the same until the last week of May 2019. I think we had the largest on ground reporting team and infrastructure deployment during the elections. We also have an interesting plan lined up for the Election results.

What are Sakshi TV’s future expansion plans?

We want to focus on being the best in class option for viewers across the board by offering content which is most likely to be helpful to them in making their tomorrow better. We also want to continue to be one amongst the minuscule number of media brands in Telugu News Media space to believe and adopt a self regulatory framework as members of the News Broadcasters Association.

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