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StarOne attempts differentiation in every step

20-October-2004
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StarOne attempts differentiation in every step

StarOne has been talked about for quite sometime now. Though lots have been discussed, STAR India still has lots more to share about this latest offshoot or as STAR chief executive Peter Mukerjea puts it, the ‘new baby from the STAR family’.

From what the channel officials have presented, differentiation is being attempted not only in the programming but in the communication and selling of the channel as well.

Sharing on the inception of the channel, Mukerjea said, “It was an idea that came into existence in November last year and we started working on it in January, 2004. It’s exactly nine months and we are ready to unveil this offer.”

He explained that between STAR Plus, Gold and the recently launched Utsav, the STAR bouquet had programming for various targets. However, something was still lacking. “Still there are people in the theatres and bars, and not in front of TV. These are the viewers we want to tap. And hence we put together what we believe is a contemporary 2004 model – clearly focussed on the urban audience,” said Mukherjea.

For Sameer Nair, COO, STAR India, StarOne means category expansion and not fragmentation. Asked whether he apprehended the channel to eat into the share of STAR Plus, he stated, “One’s target is either not watching TV at all or is just flirting with current programming. It would not be eating into the current pie, as it is catering to an emerging audience.”

The channel has taken precautions to ensure that One complements Plus. Throwing light on this, Deepak Segal, Sr VP, Content and Communication, STAR India explained, “If you compare shows on the same slot, while at 9 pm, there are one-hour weeklies on Plus, we have a one-hour daily on One. Again, 10 pm onwards, Plus has family dramas but One has one-hour weekly thrillers. In that sense, we have ensured alternate viewing.”

Another aspect of programming is that all shows are finite on One. “It is not the kind of soaps you see on Plus. We are following the concept of seasons. So you have 13, 26 or 52 episodes, depending on the programme, and then a season wraps. Then after a gap of 13 weeks, the show comes on-air again, if it has to,” states Segal.

StarOne is also attempting to lure in a different set of advertisers. “We are looking at premium products. For instance, if a refrigerator brand comes in, it would be the double-doors – which means essentially the upper-end goods,” said Mukerjea.

Giving more insight to the marketing plan, Nair shared that unlike the current format where most properties on channels have six to eight sponsors, StarOne will have only two sponsors for a show. “We are looking for partners here,” said Nair, “StarOne is arriving to deliver a new premium and everything about the channel – look, feel, logo – all are designed to deliver that experience.”

In the context of marketing, Ajay Vidyasagar, Head, Marketing, said, “For a new channel, the objective is very clear – creating awareness with the right audience. The share of voice of the channel already is a substantial one. Just in outdoors, we have over 140 hoardings taken. We will maintain this decibel level. The connect with the relevant target would be made by our creatives. We followed the teaser with the reveal phase and these creatives would be changed close to the launch.”

The channel officials share that even the distribution for One is sorted out. With all these details in place, StarOne is surely ready to roll out. STAR might have overcome one challenge by putting the channel in place, in time. However, this only means too many more challenges in raising this baby. And how this product turns out, is going to be one interesting watch.

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