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Kamal Hassan plugs 'Virumaandi' via cable ops

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MUMBAI: Master of the craft Kamal Hassan has done it again. Instead of fuming at the cable operators who supposedly take away a sizeable number of audiences from cinema halls, Hassan has created one hour special trailers on his new movie to be screened via cable television in rural Tamil Nadu.

Hassan's latest production, Virumaandi is reaching out to villages through 200 independent channels with an average base of 30,000 viewers each. A one-hour special on the movie, including an appeal from the actor to discourage piracy, aired twice every day, is part of the deal dished out to rural Tamil Nadu through cable TV.

"Instead of treating cable TV operators as enemies, it's better to use them as branch offices, allies and vehicles of publicity,'' the filmmaker told the Hindu BusinessLine. "Cable TV could be used as a legitimate dispersal system. It's unexploited, not unconventional. It's just that no one thought of it before. New technology has always been received with paranoia. It's a new way of reaching people through the most watched medium.''

The content on the show will be updated every five days via Raajkamal International which has been contracted to take the promos to the villages. Live chats and video conferences with the movie's actors are also on the cards. Hassan also plans to have contests and prizes sponsored by local shops and establishments to increase involvement.

The promotional activity will continue through cable TV for over a month. Hassan's company has also tied up with Media Planet, a service provider with 60 channels. Hassan also plans to set up a call centre to enable anyone from Tamil Nadu to call for home delivery of tickets, at no extra cost. Towards the end of the campaign, Hassan himself will have telechats with fans from the remotest of towns, says the newspaper.

According to the report, there are over 1,200 independent cable TV operators, of whom only 600 are registered, in Tamil Nadu. "Out of the 600, we have selected 200 and provided them with the free content. So it's all clean,'' Hassan told Businessline.

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