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S&S Advtg gears up to market slots in new DD 'kendras'

MUMBAI: With ad agencies and advertisers making their intentions of going into the interiors of Indian consumer markets, marketing concessionaires who market or promote programmes or slots on Doordarshan's upcountry regional channels are slowly gaining prominence. S&S Advertising, a marketing and advertising concessionaire, has bagged several slots in the newly constituted DDkendras in Ranchi, Chandigarh and Hissar (in the state of Haryana).

Navi Mumbai based S&S Advertising is one of the few players in the market which has emerged as a single window to a variety of programmes and content offerings aired on Doordarshan (DD) channels in cities such as Lucknow, Bhopal, Patna, Jullunder, Bhubaneshwar and Jaipur. Its track record and long-term partnerships with ad agencies, advertisers and the terrestrial channels has augured well for the firm, says it's proprietor.

S&S proprietor Shruti Agarwal, who left her cosy position as a space marketing manager with a national publication to start her own venture says: "S&S Advertising has tied up with several independent producers Jointly, we have identified bands on regional DD channels which have a lot of potential and create content to attract viewers and advertisers. With Doordarshan seeking sponsored and commission programmes, the demand for content will definitely go up."

S&S has already tied up with Filmana Banner's Vishal Chaturvedi (son of TV actor-comedian Shail Chaturvedi) and Om Cine's Pradeep Prabhakar. The firm's proprietors Shruti and Sunil Agarwal have well established contacts with several top ad agencies and advertisers such as Hindustan Lever(HLL), Marico, P&G amongst others. HLL has been sponsoring several programmes right from inception. S&S currently markets the following programmes on various DD channels:

* DD Lucknow - In the highly popular Sunday morning 8:30 am slot, Ek Aur Ek Gyarah (which has been renamed as Baje Danka); Ek Se Badhkar Ek in the Sunday 7:30 pm slot; Nehle Pe Dehla (which has been renamed as Kahi Teer Kahi Tukka) in the Wednesday 6:30 pm slot; Yaddein in the Thursday 6 pm slot. Apart from this, S&S also contributes to the other regular daily programmes such as Krishi Jagat (for farmers) and Samachar (7 pm).

* DD Bhopal - De Taali in the Sunday morning 8:30 am slot; Kya Kehna in the Saturday 6:30 pm slot (which has completed 80 episodes) and Kya Tera Kya Mera in the Sunday 1:30 pm slot.

* DD Jaipur - Sitaron Ki Pasand on Sundays at 8:30 am (which is being done by a local Jaipur producer affiliate of S&S); Panihar on Fridays and Gumar (a dance performance based show on Thursday at 5:45 pm.

* DD Patna - Bihari Babu Jeevan Kahani (a personality based show which focuses on eminent personalities from Bihar who have made it big in different walks of life) aired on Saturdays at 6:30 pm; Sanghursh and Samvaad. A show in the 1990s, Nagme, a film music based show hosted by TV actress Sudha Chandran, completed 52 episodes and was quite popular.

* DD Jullunder - Reshmi Roomal on Fridays at 7:30 pm; Lashkara (a Punjabi folk and pop based show) on Mondays at 7:15 pm; Filmi Jhankar on Tuesday at 7:30 pm (a film music based show)

* DD Ranchi - Khabarnaama which is aired trice a week at 6 pm

* DD Bhubaneshwar - Aparajita, Sampark and Ranga-rang in the afternoon slot and Jai Santoshi Maain the evenings.

Agarwal points out : "There are very clear demarcations in the viewer preferences in various states. In Orissa and Bhubaneshwar, afternoon programmes are very popular amongst the female audiences. In the Hindi belt, the Sunday morning slot between 8 am to 9 am is very popular before the regional channels uplink to the national network."

The content offered includes a mix of literature, social awareness messages, family dramas and music shows. In accordance to the latest guidelines issues by DD, S&S has also tied up with several writer-producer teams to gear up to produce specific serials showcasing renowned Indian writers such as Munshi Premchand amongst others.

FMCG giants (fast moving consumer goods) prefer to advertise on DD regional channels in markets such as Jullunder - in fact the whole of Punjab - which is considered to be a premium market. "We have been relying on word-of-mouth publicity for us because several ad agency planners depend on us to give them insights into the psychographic and demographic profile of the audiences in the smaller towns. The newer breed of agency planners also depend on our knowledge of the programmes," says Agarwal. Agarwal had coordinated several health ministry's awareness campaigns on the regional DD channels.

S&S co-proprietor Sunil Agarwal says that the post conditional access system (CAS) era will usher in a good period for DD's regional charges. "DD group channels' reach in the interiors will be emphasised. DD has already started seeking good content from independent producers. DD is also inviting producers for commission programmes. This is a boon for independent producers who used to bear the risk entirely."

Well, till then, ad agencies will await more word on the new fare in regional DD channels!

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