When is the channel going on air?
We haven’t finalised the launch date yet. God willing, we should be launching before this festive season.
What’s the total investment for the channel?
The total investment planned for this GEC is roughly around Rs 10 crore per month over the next one year.
What are your plans in terms of marketing in the run up to the launch of this channel?
We will go 360-degree and are planning to spend a minimum of Rs 4 crore during the launch phase. We have already started the work. Once we finalise the launch (date), we will be rolling out the launch campaign.
Have you frozen on the creative and media agencies?
Disha Communications is our creative agency while Mindshare is the media agency. These are the agencies we are already working with and we will work with them for the new GEC as well.
What’s the TG and positioning of the channel?
We are positioning the channel as general engagement channel where we will be engaging all the audiences. There is always a set of audience who tune in at a specific time band. Depending on the time band, we’ll cater to the need of the audience. We have identified that there is a specific time band when women tune in. There is a teen band and there is a family band. So, we will cater to the needs of the audience accordingly. Therefore, the channel is not for a particular audience. We will cater to the entire family. And we will design the FPC accordingly.
What you mean by ‘general engagement channel’?
It’s not just viewing. There will be a lot of possibility for viewer interaction.
What kind of growth do you foresee one year after the launch?
It’s too early to predict as our focus is now on the launch. Let’s launch the channel. There is a lot of expectation from the people as well as from the market. We’ll have to live up to the standards and that’s the real big challenge ahead of us right now. The market is there for all but the competition is stiff.
How do you view the Tamil GEC space? There is one clear leader…
It’s very true. There is one clear leader currently. If you look at the market, there’s a huge gap between the No.1 and No.2. And after No.2, it’s a cluster. And therefore, if we are able to plan the content properly and if we are able to cater to the need, then we will be successful. I go by my experience. When I was with The Times of India, I had a similar situation. When we had launched ToI (in Chennai), the clear leader was The Hindu. And the distant No.2 was the The New Indian Express. Deccan Chronicle was launched - but it was there, it was not (really) there. You know what happened when ToI launched - The Hindu did not come down. However, ToI gained. I think the market will expand. The market will consume it. It’ll happen.
Do you think you can challenge Sun’s dominance?
We are not here to supplant anybody. We are here to set our own standards and in the process anything can happen.
How is the programming going to be? Will it be any different from that of existing channels?
We are trying to give a different package. We have roped in B Kailasam (son of noted film and TV producer K Balachander) who is spearheading the programming team in the entire challenge. I’m sure that he will take is through in this venture.
What are the challengers you are facing in terms of distribution and how you plan to tackle it?
The challenge in distribution will always be there for us in the Tamil Nadu market. Once we are ready with the content, we are open to discussions and we should be able to sort it out.
What are your plans in terms of overseas distribution?
There are a lot of enquiries from the overseas market. Let’s launch. Our primary target will be Tamil Nadu. The success of this will definitely inspire us to get into international markets.