Television

Hallmark to stay pay post CAS

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MUMBAI: Hallmark may continue struggling to find its ground in the country but it is certainly sticking to its guns on the pay vs. free to air debate. The channel will stay pay in a CAS environment unlike FTV.

 

Hallmark India's GM Amitabh confirmed the same to indiantelevision.com last night on the sidelines of a preview screening of The Crooked E: The Unshredded Truth About Enron. The film, which airs on the channel on 28 June at 10:30 pm, is based on the true story of how greed destroyed the Enron Corporation.



Amitabh said that the broadcaster had worked out different pricing scenarios for the channel in a post-CAS environment. "There will different prices between the metros and non-metros and even within the metros there might be differences. We will look at what the other players are doing and accordingly we will declare a price," said Amitabh.

 

"I am sure that CAS will benefit Hallmark because as of now we are not getting fully paid from the metros. Our core viewership resides in the Metros. There will be initial confusion in the first few months till the set top boxes are rolled out," Amitabh opined.



Amitabh has now taken on the additional responsibilities of marketing and ad-sales coordination, both of which were earlier handled by Laxmi Hariharan who left in December. Both functions used to be managed out of the Singapore office which was shut down last year.



Asked about the response the channel had received for its new programme initiatives, Amitabh was visibly disappointed that the Indian viewer had not taken to the reality series Adoption. "Adoption touches the heart and should have got a better response. Perhaps Indian audiences did not quite connect with it. This surprises me as this is a global issue and does not have boundaries. On the other hand Family Law has just started and the tempo is building up."



Dwelling on the new programme initiatives planned Amitabh revealed, "We have the drama series My Big Fat Greek Life coming on board from next month. This is an extension of the box office hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding and the film's star cast, including lead actor Nia Vardalos, returns. The series picks up from where the film left off. The sitcom Mad About You (which is already enjoying a successful run on Zee English) will also air next month. In terms of time bands being looked at our focus will rest on the post 8:30 pm slot and the later time bands."



Asked whether the channel was looking at content localisation Amitabh said, "More and more programme selection is being done out of the Asia Pacific instead of the US. Indian Telefilms is something that we could certainly look at. We would look at those Indian films, which have a global feel so to speak. After all our feed is going across Asia and so other countries should also be able to make the connection."



On the revenues front Amitabh said, "25 per cent of our revenue is coming from ad sales and the rest is coming out of distribution. We could certainly improve on the ad sales front."



On the subject as to whether the channels marketing efforts over the past year involving theatre, radio, print, online had paid off or not Amitabh said, "We are seeing higher household reach. It is 12.5 million while earlier it was around 11 million. We have made a little change in our marketing strategy. Since we are a niche channel instead of adopting mass media tactics we are doing more in terms of direct marketing to the viewer."



"We are doing direct mailers, contests on msn as well as on other sites which people frequent. We have a microsite for India where there is a detailed listing of the programmes and specials we have on offer."



We will look at on ground events when we have a property that hooks viewers. For The Crooked E we are doing this screening here and in Delhi. To promote the film we are using the radio but not cinemas or outdoors."

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