Television

Hallmark to strengthen late night slot next month

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MUMBAI: Hallmark is taking special pains to strengthen its position in the late night block.

With this in mind, the channel will push The Guardian and the second season of McLeods Daughters to the 11 pm slot from October. The Guardian will be part of the channel's science fiction block while Star Trek at midnight will take over from its current Sunday 8 pm slot.

Speaking on how the basic programming matrix had changed director Marketing Hallmark Asia Pacific Laxmi Hariharan says,"The programming mix has gained in variety. We started introducing more serials and we will also screen theatrical releases like the Kevin Costner baseball drama Field Of Dreams. We are creating awareness that the channel will screen shows which have been nominated for the Emmy Awards. For instance we will air Jack and The Beanstalk: The Real Story which is a contemporary take on the classic tale. Therefore we will keeping a close tab on the developments taking place at the Emmy Awards."

"Our other blocks - the women's block in the afternoon, kids block in the late afternoon and evening block where we showcase specials like Flipper have evolved quite nicely over the past year. We base our FPC on viewer ship trends, competitive programming."

The channel will also introduce a slew of interactive initiatives. Says Mediascope Associates' Rohinton Maloo, "We will be using a new form of interactive service, which has so far not been seen, in the country. This will not require the use of a cell phone and will be accessible to the common man. SMS has been done by so many people that if we enter it now, we will basically be seen as a me too, which Hallmark is most certainly not. We will unveil details for the same later in the month. In fact, from September - November we will be coming out with a slew of interactive initiatives."

Hariharan says, "We will be having an on air promotion for Diwali. We are also enabling media outlets to interview stars of our shows like Simon Baker through email and that is where our focus will rest. We will also be promoting the family film festival, which will take place end September through the different media. We will be doing an on air promo for kids shortly. This will revolve around the theme of health. So you will see 'Clifford' and 'Callilou' offering health tips."

The channel has tied up with indiatimes.com for Early Edition and with Sify to build the brand in Chennai for Women's Week. The channel, which dubbed the kids' block last year in Hindi, found that people prefer watching the shows in English. "This is because our shows are visually attractive and also location specific. For example if you were to watch Sherlock Holmes in a local language, the flavour would get diluted," says Hariharan.

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