"We are particularly strong in the late night slot" : Laxmi Hariharan Hallmark's director marketing, Asia Pacific

The Hallmark Channel is planning a slew of programming and marketing initiatives in a bid to increase visibility in India. And coordinating these activities is Hallmark Entertainment Network‘s director marketing, Asia Pacific Laxmi Hariharan. As director-marketing (Asia), her responsibilities include communications, research, events and promotions, brand building, and brand management, besides contributing to programmes and production. She is also involved in distribution and ad sales for the channel in India.‘s Ashwin Pinto caught up with Hariharan last Thursday (12 September) to find out what Hallmark has planned for the months ahead.

Are you satisfied with the response your marketing initiatives for shows like ‘The Guardian‘, ‘Early Edition‘ have received?

Yes. Our Mother‘s day initiative in May was successful. Last month, we came out with 900,000 copies of ‘Early Edition‘ to promote the show. At traffic junctions, people who received a copy got the impression that a new tabloid had been launched.

How successful has the channel been in attracting new advertisers so far this year in India? Have any revenue targets been set for the financial year?

For major promotions like Mother‘s Day, we have been able to find sponsors like Whirlpool. Right now, we are pitching our programming initiatives to a whole new batch of advertisers. This week, Maruti commenced a campaign on the channel. We have also become aggressive in the trade marketing department. We offer the advertising community value added tailor made packages including at times a presence in Hallmark Cards. It is too early however, for us to talk about revenue targets.

"The channel is popular in the South in cities like Chennai and Bangalore."

Tell me about the brand awareness programme working across the metro cities?

During the first part of the year we concentrated on the metros of Mumbai and Delhi. Later on through research, we found that the channel is popular in the South in cities like Chennai and Bangalore. So our marketing mix will now target cities. This will include e-newsletters, advertising shows like The Guardian in cinemas in a big way. We also sponsor horoscopes in the local dailies. We are planning more innovative stunts. For instance, we will be coming out with two more editions of Early Edition Tomorrow (13 September) we are having a special screening in Delhi of the Hugh Jackman film ‘Paperback Hero‘ for the advertising community to create awareness about the product.


We have found that using three to four media outlets at the same time for a few days to hit the viewer is extremely effective in getting the message across. At the moment through radio spots we are promoting our late night movie specials. In this manner, people driving home from work late will have an instant reaction to the ad flash and will feel like tuning in.

" Through radio spots we are promoting our late night movie specials. In this manner, people driving home from work late will have an instant reaction to the ad flash and will feel like tuning in "

What is virtual product placement and how are you pushing it through?

This is a unique technology exclusively available from Princeton Video in the US. This allows Hallmark to insert products into the film or serial once it has been shot, edited. The advantage is that since Hallmark owns the television movies it airs it can make changes to a particular scene. For instance if the show is passing through a road in Europe an automobile marketed in the country can be inserted on the curb and then the viewer will think to himself that Europeans also drive it. Similarly at the breakfast table you can insert a packet of Kellogg‘s cornflakes which is popular in the country. The same scene will change from country to country. In England for instance the advertiser may want the Kelloggs packet to be removed from the scene.


This is a relationship that Princeton has exclusively with Hallmark. On the other hand Star and HBO, which rely on acquired content, cannot use the technology as the production company whether it is Columbia Tristar, Twentieth Century Fox or Miramax would raise instant objections if they were to alter the original content using technology in any manner.


We are at an advanced stage of discussions with an automobile, biscuit as well as a soft drink manufacturer to offer this value added service.

" Our value proposition to the cable operator is that we are a family channel and are not just targeting certain age groups "

Are you doing cross-promotions on other channels such as Discovery and MTV?

Yes. For Friendship Day we tied up with MTV. We promoted each other‘s programmes through snippets. We have tie-ups with the magazines Elle and Cosmopolitan.

What would you say is the USP of the Hallmark channel for the Indian audience and advertisers?

Viewers see us as a channel with emotions. If they are in a romantic mood, they will automatically come to the channel. We offer something, which one can watch with the entire family. The kid‘s block works well with mothers looking for a healthy alternative as well as those who want their children to be exposed to educational programmes.


For the ad community, we offer a clutter free environment, integrated marketing packages as well as an atmosphere where ads get noticed. Advertisers know that on Hallmark they are reaching a viewer who is loyal and has aspirations regarding attaining a certain lifestyle.

Latest Reads
TV is story-teller's new novel; audience is Bharat, not India: Banerjee

MUMBAI: Since five to six years, television has become the talking point. Th series such as 'Breaking Bad' to Transparent to Narcos to 'Game of Thrones' to 24, and now POW (Prisoners of Wars) has changed the experience of television viewing.

Television TV Channels GECs
Star World to air 1-5 of 'Homeland'

Star World and Star World HD is all geared up to air the pulse-pounding action series 'Homeland.' The show tackles geopolitical moral conundrums of our current world. It has recently unveiled the teaser for the upcoming season 6 shows how Carrie Mathison will circumvent around another international...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
Share all World Cup, T-20 feeds with Prasar Bharati, rights holder told

The telecast of all official one-day and Twenty-20 matches played by the Indian Men’s Cricket Team will henceforth have to be shared by the rights holder with the public broadcaster Prasar Bharati under the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act 2007.

Television TV Channels Terrestrial
Saregama returns to film music acquisition with Pen pact

Saregama India has inked a two-movie deal with Pen Movies. With this agreement, Saregama has acquired the music rights of upcoming Bollywood releases of Pen which includes Kahaani 2 -- Durga Rani Singh, featuring Vidya Balan and Arjun Rampal.Kahaani 2 is slated for a release on 2 December.

Television TV Channels Music and Youth
Q2-17: Zeel numbers, PAT up on higher Ad and Subscription revenue

The Subhash Chandra led content and broadcast player Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (Zeel) reported a 23 per cent hike in consolidated revenue for the quarter ended 30 September 2016 (Q2-17, current quarter) as compared to the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

Television TV Channels GECs
Best Deal TV appoints Hari Trivedi as COO

MUMBAI: Best Deal TV has appointed Hari Trivedi as the chief operating officer with immediate effect. Based in Mumbai, Trivedi will be responsible for overall sales and marketing. He would also be initializing lowest price offers and deals on Best Deal TV.

Television TV Channels People
Disney announces successor of MD Siddharth Roy-Kapur

MUMBAI: Walt Disney International has announced the successor to its former managing director Siddharth Roy-Kapur. As a second stint with the organization, Mahesh Samat has made a comeback and will lead The Walt Disney Company India as the managing director. He will pursue his new responsibility...

Television TV Channels People
Life is more imaginative than fiction in a story like POW, says writer-director Gideon Raff

MUMBAI: Sometimes, coming back home after 17 years is not always a happy ending. "Prisoners of War" is the story of three Israeli soldiers, who were held captive for that many years following their kidnapping while on a secret mission with their unit.

Television TV Shows Thriller
IPL media rights bidding postponed sine die

MUMBAI: The BCCI has made it clear that the media rights auction cannot take place till the time it gets a concrete go-ahead and a formal approval from the Justice RM Lodha committee. Till the evening of 24 October (Monday), BCCI did not receive the okay from the committee which said, "it is in...

Television TV Channels Sports

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories