Reality TV plans media drive to expand viewership

NEW DELHI: Having tasted some success with selective advertising campaign in cinema halls during the festival season, Reality TV is now planning to unleash a mass media campaign in the early part of 2005. Aim: broadbase viewership.

"We have done some below the line campaigns when we launched. But seeing the success of the present one, we have drawn up plans to introduce a mass media campaign next year," Zone Vision's marketing manager Flecka Picardo told today over phone from London.

Since it first launched in 1991, Zone Vision has grown to become a leading international broadcaster and distributor of thematic television channels and at present controls Reality TV, Europa Europa and Romantica, which are broadcast to over 135 million paying subscribers throughout the world.

According to Picardo, the mass media campaign, including outdoors and cinema halls, would kick-off "sometime in April-May as it would depend a lot on the programming line up."

What Reality TV is attempting to do is broadbase not only its viewership base, but also bring in more eyeballs from its present target audience that comprises people in the age group 16-44 from SEC A and B.

"I must admit that we have a more youthful audience, but our feedback (in India) has shown that lot of housewives and older people too come on to our channel to watch programmes in the afternoon," Picardo said, pointing out that a mass media campaign would help in this direction.

As part of its ongoing initiative, Reality TV is executing a month-long cinema campaign in India, which is the first time that such an outlet has been chosen by the channel that claims its USP is 'unstaged reality' (may be, competition goes in for 'staged' reality shows).

This particular campaign has been conceived with the objective of promoting Reality TV among the key target audiences and covers multiplexes and cinema halls in four key cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Pune.

As regards the creative, it is a 60-second commercial reflecting the Reality TV branding and the core values that the channel represents --- incredulity, bravery, astonishment, unbelievable, but true, heart warming and unstaged fare. In short: real people; true stories.

The campaign launch was kept in line with the festive season of Diwali as cinemas were and are still premiering some of their most popular films, thus giving Reality TV an opportunity to reach large audiences, Picardo pointed out.

The channel claims to have a fairly good distribution across India, which has made the channel promoters keen on reinforcing "the distinct nature of the channel in India and establish it as one that offers a unique entertainment value as with regard to the other channels in the genre of real life programming".

Without giving any figures, Picardo said that India is an important market for the company as far as Reality TV is concerned and serious efforts have been made to promote the channel, including having India-specific programming fillers.

Picardo joined Zone Vision in March 2004 and has taken over as marketing manager for India and Asia Pacific. She has over four years of experience in the television industry having worked in CNBC India (formerly part of the Sony channel bouquet) and with MAX. After moving to London, she has worked with Asia Television Network.

Parent company Zone Vision was founded in London in 1991 by Chris Wronski and was originally formed to distribute television programmes to the Central and Eastern European market.

In addition, Zone Vision's programme distribution arm, Zone Licensing, continues to acquire formats, series and specials from leading producers around the world.

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