Big Magic hops back on DD Free Dish to enhance distribution

MUMBAI: In a bid to enhance its distribution and reach out to the masses, Reliance Broadcast Network Ltd’s (RBNL) Big Magic has hopped on back to Doordarshan’s free to air (FTA) direct to home (DTH) platform DD Free Dish albeit after making a few key changes in its programming strategy.


It may be recalled that in November this year, Doordarshan deputy director general C K Jain had told Indiantelevision.com that Big Magic had paid a sum of Rs 6 crore in the 24th e-auction to get back on the platform. The channel, which went off DD Free Dish in August this year, began beaming again from today (18 December).


Pertinent to note here in that in its initial days, the pay channel Big Magic was present on the DD’s DTH platform but after thorough introspection, the network decided to take the channel off from the platform in order to rejuvenate its content. The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India, after rolling out its rural data has changed the entire game plan. DD Free Dish has emerged as one of the premier factors determining a channel’s performance in terms of ratings and hence making it a must for the broadcasters to present on.


RBNL COO Ashwin Padmanabhan says, “It gives the reach, which helps gain viewership, but only if you have quality content in your catalogue. The reason why we went off the platform in the first place was to fill the gaps in our content. The content needs to be a slice of life and topical; only then people will cherish it. We made a gradual move towards more non-fiction from fiction and now we think we have adequate content to go back to the platform.”


The channel banks on the humour quotient, which automatically tilts them towards a predominantly male audience. However, the network is quite clear when it comes to its target group. “We want to reach out to a pan India audience. I agree to the perception that humour as a genre is more male dominant but at the same time, I believe we have a diverse enough catalogue to cater to both male and female audience. Our target audience is both male and female aged between 15 to 45 years,” adds Padmanabhan.


“General entertainment channels (GECs) are heavily female inclined, news channels cater to males, whereas youth channels have their audience cut out for them. Big Magic is positioned in a unique position where we break all such discriminations and cater to all because humour has universal appeal. We plan to strengthen our humour offering by adding more topical content, which people can relate to,” asserts Padmanabhan.


The production cost of a non-fiction show is way higher than fiction content and RBNL, at this stage, is not shying away from spending. 


Padmanabhan says, “Advertisers are excited about the content that we are creating; there is a lot of room for innovations and branded content. Going forward, we can even conceptualise a show sitting together with the advertiser. So we have confidence on our path ahead and hence if strengthening content needs investment we are happy to do so.”  


Big Magic is available across all DTH platforms as well as major cable operators and with the presence on DD Free Dish, the channel’s distribution is well taken care of. However, Padmanabhan was quick to point out that distribution revenue was minuscule at this stage.


The channel currently airs shows like Fakebook, Ji Sirjee, Family Fortunes, Lete Hain Khabar, Comedy Ka Rocket and Nautanki News.


A senior media planner informs, “The ad rate of a 10 second slot on Big Magic during prime time would be somewhere between Rs 4000 - 5000.”


With strong distribution in place and the added platform of DD Free Dish, Big Magic is well poised to take things to the next level in terms of programming content.

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