Hallmark looking to extend brand value with 'Early Edition'

 MUMBAI: Hallmark channel is attempting a more contemporary look.

After the acquisition of serials like The Guardian, the channel has recently acquired CBS' Early Edition., starring Kyle Chandler, which will air, from 2 September, weekdays at 8pm.

Hallmark is pushing Early Edition in a big way. From Sunday to Tuesday, four vans will visit Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore and distribute a million copies of tabloids made up to look like Early Edition. Dated for the following day, the tabloid will have gimmicky stuff that includes catchy headlines such as 'Television news channels sue a cat for millions for breaking news ahead of schedule'. Hallmark has also tied with retail outlets like Barista, where a consumer can have a copy slipped into his hands and can get 'Kal ka khabar aaj', as it were.

On the Internet, Hallmark has tied with indiatimes.com and from Monday will have a special block on the site informing people that they can glimpse a day into the future. Talks are also on with other portals like sify.com to have similar banners in a bid to create awareness among the internet community.

The Hallmark website will run a contest 'See tomorrow today', where surfers have to choose what things they would do if they had the news a day in advance. Winners will get to meet a palm reader or an astrologer. Teasers are already running on radio stations.

For The Guardian this month, Hallmark had tied up with Cosmopolitan and Elle magazines, wherein readers could send in their opinions of Nick Fallin the corporate lawyer forced into doing community service. From September, the channel will start promoting the two shows in cinemas before the film and during the intervals.

In Early Edition Kyle Chandler stars as a down his luck guy who works in the stock market. When the show starts his girlfriewnd has given him the boot. One day a cat brings an edition of the Chicago Sun Times dated tomorrow at his doorstep. Now Chandler has the chance to save tragedies like a bank robbery or a plane hijack from happening. The catch is that he has got only a 24 hour window. This leads to a question of priorities. Should he serve mankind or use information for personal gain like betting on horse racing or the stock market. The show succeeds in making an apparently implausible concept seem believable and down to earth.

Hallmark India marketing manager Murtuzaq Kagalwala says: " Hallmark struives to provide clean entertainment which can be enjoyed by the entire family. We are also screenings like this in Delhi to create awarenessa bout the product. We earlier found that India was lacking educational programmes for kids. So we launched shows like Sesame Street, Clifford, Callilou as a result of which we have become very strong in the 4-6 pm band. "

"In the afternoon, we air films with a strong feminist theme as that is the period where women at home tune in. For the person who likes to burn the midnight oil, we air murder mysteries and suspense thrillers. We think of oursleves as a television movie channel and our audience is in the 10 - 54 bracket. Having said that, it is difficult to tell which section is watching the channel the most."

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