Channel Guide expects cable ads to bring in revenues

Six-month-old infotainment channel Channel Guide is all set to enter a new field of 'Satellite Video Delivery Service'. Elaborating on the concept, Ravi Deshmukh, COO, Channel Guide Network India Ltd says: "There is a growing demand from advertisers for a cheaper way of reaching local cable operators. There are close to 10,000 cable operators in India. The cost involved in reaching out and delivering hard copy to all of them is huge and beyond the capacity of small and medium scale advertisers.

Channel Guide plans to make use of its satellite service during the night hours (as the channel is off air from 11 pm to nine am) to telecast the advertisements. Cable operators can record advertisements and telecast them on their network on agreed upon terms. "We have agreements with almost all the cable operators and will have one monitoring agent for every 100 cable operators who will monitor their performance."

The advertiser will decide the area he wants to cover and accordingly inform Channel Guide. The advertisements to be telecast will be given to the channel. The area monitoring agent will in turn inform the respective cable operators, who will then record the signals and show it on the network at the specified time.

Advertising rates are fixed depending on the number of connections and the area for each cable operator, giving advertisers the option to opt for the optimum mix of advertising budget and target customer. The revenues will first go to the channel which will pay the cable operators through the agents.

"They (advertisers) can even change the advertisement seven days before telecast, a provision not possible in other advertising options. In fact, we are studying a proposal to start uplinking from India, which will reduce the seven-day minimum to one day. This is likely to be through by January next," says Deshmukh.

Commenting on Channel Guide's position, he says: "We have reached five million C & S homes. A paid advertisement service called 'Channel Guide Exclusive' will start this month," he said, but refused to divulge the name of the channels that have agreed to advertise on Channel Guide. Apart from the broadcasters, film and music companies are expected to use the channel as an advertising medium.

Regional language programming, slotted in the 8-9 am band, will also start from this month, says Deshmukh.

The company is also looking at content syndication for programming and giving it to small regional print publications. "We receive programming data for almost all channels, while small publications die to get the data. We can provide them the same," he says.

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