'Some re-evaluation of content is happening in Tamil Nadu': Sudhanshu Vats

In an exclusive conversation with Campaign India, Sudhanshu Vats, group CEO, Viacom 18 speaks about how the viewer's willingness to change could work in favour of Colors Tamil

Feb 13, 2018 12:22:00 PM | Article | Prasad Sangameshwaran

Being a late entrant   
The Tamil market is a very challenging market and therefore we will have to do many things differently for us to be able to gain the confidence of the audience in this market. It’s a market where there are challenges at every level. We need to tackle those. My own sense is that, if you look at the last one year, the other players in TN (Star Vijay and Zee) have also begun to show some traction.
The performance of Zee Tamil and Star Vijay has been very encouraging in the last one year. Sun TV continues to do what they are doing but the audience is beginning to re-evaluate new content and different stories.  
Therefore, in my opinion the timing of our entry is right as there is some amount of re-evaluation of content that is happening in this market. 
Staring at the Sun
The number of original hours done here by the leading players is very high. The appointment viewing hours on those programmes is also high. But like I said earlier, there are indications that the consumer is willing to experiment with new content. Therefore we need to come up with disruptive ideas and disruptive content formats to be able to gain traction. Our attempt will be that.
The kind of content we are looking at is clutter breaking, disruptive and we think the Tamil audience will appreciate this.
The content strategy
The five big players in India, Star, ZEE, Sun, Viacom18 and Sony account for 85 per cent of the premium content in this country. That’s close to 85,000 hours of premium content. 
The number of hours of premium content that we do is not easy for somebody to come and replicate. The international phenomena will be at the top end. But unless you localise content, you cannot play in India. We will have close to 1,100 hours of original content in Colors Tamil. 
We will add more original hours for digital content as we move forward. But most of the content will be done for television and will be adapted for digital. When I say adapted, it could be ‘as is’ or ‘content around content’. If you look at non-fiction formats we do a lot of content around content which is not on television and we also do Voot Originals.
The distribution game 
We have taken some time on that. We have managed to get a good distribution spread and we are on all major platforms and we have reasonably good placement here, which is very important. 
Films and the TN viewer 
In terms of movies, as we are a late entrant we do not have a sufficient movie library. Our strategy is going to be more around fiction and clutter breaking non-fiction formats. Therefore our reliance on movies here will be very low to begin with.
Formats like Colors Super Kids will create conversations and the format will spread through social media as well.
Therefore, in my opinion the timing of our entry is right as there is some amount of re-evaluation of content that is happening in this market. 
(Campaign India was at the launch of Colors Tamil in Chennai as a guest of the channel.)