Markand Adhikari announces his return to Hindi GECs with 3 new channels

Markand Adhikari, the man behind four successful channels, has announced his return to the Hindi GEC fold with the launch of three new channels by January 20, 2011.

e4m by Fatema Rajkotwala
Updated: Jan 17, 2011 8:55 AM
Markand Adhikari announces his return to Hindi GECs with 3 new channels

In an exclusive conversation with exchange4media, Markand Adhikari, Managing Director, Sri Adhikari Brothers, shares about the upcoming launch of three new Hindi general entertainment channels with a regional twist – namely Dabangg, Dhamaal, and Dhamakaa.

On the Menu
Three Hindi comedy channels laced with a thriller quotient and a region-specific touch addressing three regions are to be launched by January 20, 2011 – Dabangg in the Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttaranchal belt; Dhamaal in the Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh areas, and Dhamakaa for the Gujarat audiences.

The Brain
Talking about the rationale behind the venture, Adhikari explained about how Hindi programming created a regional unity and how audiences in his specific markets were more receptive to a Hindi GEC than their local GEC. He argued that viewers preferred the quality of programming offered by national Hindi GECs and would opt for a custom made Hindi GEC with a touch of their local language, if given a choice. “We are taking special care to ensure that content is tailored for audiences as per their region by including some popular artists from that region, who will appeal to the local audience. Special programmes and formats have been designed keeping the regional appeal in mind,” Adhikari said.

Custom Made for Advertisers
Recognising a gap in the avenues available for local advertisers, Adhikari spoke of the benefits offered by his new bouquet of channels. In line with the successful The Times of India model of extracting advertiser spends, through meaningful localisation, with his group of channels, Adhikari vies to provide a cost effective television platform to local advertisers as an alternative to print and radio. He further cited that the existing regional channels afforded a negligible reach, whereas national channels commanded an unnecessary premium for national reach.

Content and Programming Mix
The channels will follow a unified baseline strategy tagged ‘Chill and Thrill’, with a content mix of 75 per cent comedy shows, while the remaining 25 per cent will comprise thriller and supernatural shows. Adhikari explained, “Content for all channels is being differentiated by adding some regional flavours. Every channel will be adequately localised with programmes and gags having a local touch to add a regional feel.”

The programming will be produced internally, backed with the library collection owned by Adhikari. Talking on the fresh content offered by the channels, he added, “We are starting with 3.5-4 hours of fresh programming, which is substantially a good number for a new channel to start with. Our fresh programming consists of various sitcoms – ‘Hasya Kavi Sammelan’ to be hosted by Shailesh Lodha, stand up comedy shows and much more.”

Distribution and Reach
Dhamaal, Dabangg and Dhamakaa will be available on the S-band with all MSOs in the above mentioned states in 20 major cities. The channels will begin as Free to Air (FTA) encrypted with the Fixed Point Chart (FPC) in place by early February 2011 and will function within the Hindi GEC target markets of CS 4+.

Marketing agenda
The channels will be marketed with the help of heavy outdoor promotion in the target states and cities, supplemented by television promos on news, music and film channels. Local print mediums are also part of the marketing mix, along with other unconventional methods.

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