"We will be launching our news channel, S News, in a month or two"

In conversation with exchange4media, Sitaram Avvas, Chairman, Tollywood TV speaks about the company’s growth plans, creating differentiation in the Andhra Pradesh market, new launches lined up and more...

e4m by Deepa Balasubramanian
Updated: Mar 15, 2014 11:04 AM
"We will be launching our news channel, S News, in a month or two"

Agri Gold Infra Developers, a national construction and infrastructure building company, diversified into multi-dimensional businesses and launched Tollywood TV in 2013. The company also owns Travel Trendz Television, which is targetted at travellers. Tollywood TV is an entertainment GEC with film news content, which aims at being different and getting to the top 10 in the near future.

Sitaram Avas, Chairman, Tollywood TV, has been juggling multiple roles in his life. He is also Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of Agri Gold Infra Developers. In conversation with exchange4media, Avvas speaks about the company’s growth plans, creating differentiation in the Andhra Pradesh market, new launches lined up and more...

Tollywood TV has not yet found a stable positioning in the market. What are your plans to grow the channel?
It’s partly true that we have not found a stable positioning yet. One also needs to keep in mind that we started out only six months ago, but have already created ripples in the market. The market has started recognising Tollywood TV as one of the upcoming channels in the GEC space with unique coverage of film news. We have aggressive promotional plans firmed up now. This is going to be our strategy for the next couple of years. We are cautious in our investments.

It must be tough to grab the media planner’s attention amid strong competitors such as Gemini, Zee Telugu and MAA...
True. The market is cluttered with close to 800 channels. Our objective is to give quality content to all Telugu speaking audience. The attention of media planners or buyers is consequent to that. It is also true that our driver programmes are yet to make a strong presence in the top 10. Tollywood TV is a baby now and is still crawling. But we are here to stay. We are in talks with production houses for quality fiction and non-fiction shows. In the near future, we will be able to make our presence felt and will be there in the top 10 channels’ list.

How do you differentiate yourself from other channels in Andhra Pradesh?
Ours is a GEC with a difference. Already, the content of news related to films is well accepted. We made the difference by being different in the way we think, which is our USP. Besides all that, our fiction, sitcom and non-fiction shows that are lined up will speak about our strength. With nearly 250 films certified in India each year, the channel plans to differentiate itself by running regular film news and bulletins.

We’ve heard that you are planning to launch a news channel and a channel dedicated to movies. When can we expect the launch?
We have plans to storm the small screen by launching our news channel, called S News, in a month or two. In the present day, fast communication in the form of breaking news with accuracy is obsolete. So, we plan to make differentiation by way of in-depth analysis and candid presentation.

Given the current scenario in the broadcast industry, do you think it is viable to launch a news channel now?
We are confident that we will not only survive, but be in the top list. Business plans come next to our mission of providing reliable and in-depth analysis. We are confident that business is a consequence of our equity with viewers. We have Media House Entertainment as our exclusive marketer, who has enough wherewithal in terms of strong team and resources to aggressively market our channels.

What are the challenges that Tollywood TV has faced till now?
We have faced challenges in terms of content procuring, brand positioning, distribution and so on. More critically, setting up the top management team and rolling out our vision was a tough one. However, all the initial hiccups are done with and we are facing the future with more confidence as a team.

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