Sony seeks ‘Pal’ in housewives

MUMBAI: “I will be seeking the moon,” says Multi Screen Media CEO NP Singh, as he announced the launch of the network’s much talked about new Hindi general entertainment channel (GEC), Sony Pal. The network which had conceptualised the new channel last year is very confident about the channel, its offerings and the packaging. “Now we will see how viewers respond to it,” adds the optimistic Singh.


Targeted at women, mostly housewives, in the age group of 15-34 years, in SEC BCDE, Sony Pal was a dream for Singh, which is now finally taking shape. The target audience was chosen after the result of the research which showed that 88 per cent of viewership for a GEC comes from housewives. “The new channel will complement our other offerings,” he says.    


“Today’s women have started realising that they can not only contribute to the society, but also augment family income. Through Pal, we will celebrate these women,” says Singh.


The network did an extensive research before deciding on the content, the channel packaging and the target audience. “Our research showed that there was latent demand for a content which was progressive and positive,” he informs.


The channel is based on the theme ‘Yeh Pal Humara Hai’. “This is the moment to shine, to evolve, to excel and achieve. This moment belongs to her and her alone,” says Sony Pal and Sab senior EVP and business head Anooj Kapoor while adding that this is not a generic promise, but a personalised one.


The channel will go live from 1 September, with actor Juhi Chawla as its brand ambassador and with content which is empowering and that showcases positive aspects of modern India, while presenting the traditional aspect. “We will showcase family togetherness and not strife, which is what most channels today showcase,” adds Kapoor.


When asked the reason for roping in Chawla, the duo say, “She is a person who is empowered, successful and yet approachable. She was the first name that came to us, and we stuck with her.”


The channel logo, which dons colours pink, purple and yellow and has diamonds, a woman’s best friend, has been designed by an Australian agency.


Sony Pal for Kapoor is mature and the shows will help connect the audience with a life that is beautiful and not a struggle. The channel will initially go on air with three hours of original content, which will be aired from Monday to Saturday between 7:30 pm-10:30 pm. Also, it will have two hours of original programming on Sunday evening. “After a month, we will launch the Balaji Telefilms’ show at the 7pm slot, thus taking original content to 3.5 hours,” informs Kapoor. The slot for the Sunday programming has not yet been disclosed.


The channel launches with nine shows, these include: Simply Baatein which is produced by GR8 Entertainment and  anchored by Raveena Tandon, Dil Hain Chotasa Choti Si Asha, produced by SOL Productions and hosted by Ragini Khanna and Jay Soni, Shashi Productions’ Ek Rishta Aisa Bhi, Miloni Films’ Khushiyon Ki Gullakh Aashi¸ Singhasan Battisi by Creative Eye, Pia Basanti Re by Rashmi Sharma and Pawan Kuma, Tum Sath Ho Jab Apne produced by Sphere Origins, Sister Didi by DJ’s Creative Unit and Yeh Dil Sun Raha Hain by Balaji Telefilms.


All the series are infinite and the channel will take a call on the number of episodes based on its performance. While no advertisers have currently come onboard, the network is positive about its content. “We have showcased our product to them and they have responded positively. They first want to see the shows and the channel and then decide. And we are in no hurry too,” says Singh.


The channel will look at afternoon slots later. “There is a lot of ground to be covered. This is just the beginning,” adds Kapoor. The shows while initially will be shot at outdoor locations of Patiala, Baroda, Lucknow and other HSM cities, will later move to sets.


The soon-to-go air channel is not free to air and will be available on all the four major multi system operators, DEN Networks, Hathway Cable & Datacom, Siti Cable, Digicable and Fastway in Punjab and all the direct to home (DTH) operators.


On the marketing front, a 360 degree campaign has been designed, which will go live from 10 August. “We have designed a five week campaign with a lot of fresh initiative. One of this is forming women’s club, through which women can identify their talent and can celebrate life,” informs Kapoor.


Manjit Sachdev will be the programming head for the new launch. According to an industry source, the investment in the channel could be anywhere close to Rs 90 crore- Rs 110 crore, including marketing spends. As for the ad rates, a media planner says, “Considering all the shows have been brought in the prime time slot, the ad rate for a 10 second slot could be anywhere close to Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000.”

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