Launched on 19 November 2014, Epic television approached the market with a differentiated focus – by building its 10 pm slot.
"Most people are used to seeing certain kind of shows between 7 and 9 pm. They start exploring at 10 pm. We did our analysis, and found out that there is large audience at 10 pm. So we thought there is a great opportunity for them to sample different kind of programming," said Mahesh Samat, MD, Epic Television.
In July, the channel launched three shows in this slot: Mid-wicket Tales with actor Naseeruddin Shah, Jaane Pehchane with lyricist and writer Javed Akhtar and Stories by Rabindranath Tagore with Bollywood director Anurag Basu.
More recently, the channel announced the launch of two new shows, also at 10 pm. One is Khwaabon ka Safar with Bollywood's Mahesh Bhatt, which looks at the people who dreamed big in the industry, and Devlok with leadership coach, consultant and mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik, which tries to reconstruct mythology.
Samat is positive that the core TG of SEC AB 25+ will be attracted to these shows. And the content, either owned or syndicated by the channel, entails significant investment.
On offtake of ad inventory, Samat said, "Our job in the first year was to make people understand how our channel is different from others. We were focused on establishing the brand. Now, as we enter the second year, we will focus on selling the ad inventory. Right now, we do have support from various industries like automobiles and consumer durables. Being a new channel we do not have the fill like every other channel has."
The channel is also banking on revenues from its subscriber base, as it prepares to go pay after completing the first 12 months. The belief is that good content will find avenues to garner subscription revenue. The challenge, thus, is to get the content and brand that is 'addictive', according to Samat.
But would the paying subscriber base be big enough to become primary source of revenue for the channel? "Digital and digitisation will pay dividends. It may not be as much as expected," observed Samat.
Beyond the metros
Epic's focus will also extend beyond the metros, with the marketing focused in increasing awareness across key Hindi speaking markets (HSM). Towards that end, Epic will employ traditional media in these markets.
"We are looking at traditional media outside of the metros because we know we need to reach out to places outside of metros – like Punjab and MP, which have shown traction to Epic's programming," said Samat. Besides this, Epic will continue to invest in digital media.
"For us, it is not a business of getting the large quantity, but the right quality," surmised Samat.