Times Network goes full throttle with launches & revamps

MUMBAI: There has been a lot of action going on at the broadcast arm of Vineet Jain helmed Bennett, Coleman and Company Limited (BCCL).


Ever since its revamp in April this year, the Times Television Network (TTN) has gone full throttle with major revamps of its existing channels as well as new channel launches. 


TTN revamped its Bollywood and lifestyle channel Zoom, which was followed by the launch of a new movie channel MN+. What's more, a new niche channel called Property Now is also slated to launch soon.


With digital being the future, the network is notably also stressing on strengthening its digital presence.


Revamp of Times Television Network


With an aim to become more inclusive, the network decided to drop the ‘television’ from its name and rechristened as Times Network with a new tagline—‘Now or Nothing.’


At the time of the revamp, Times Network CEO and managing director M K Anand had said, “We have strong branches but the trunk needs to be strengthened and the revamp is to ensure that. Moreover, we don't want to restrict ourselves as a television network only. Hence we decided to break a few boundaries and expand.”


Realising the growing importance of digital, Times Network is now targeting the medium. Be it with launching the Times Now app or with the increasing focus on digital with the recent revamp of Zoom.  


“There is a serious attempt from our side to establish ourselves on the digital platform,” Anand had said on the sidelines of the network's plans to launch an app for Times Now. The app which is now live, has close to 10,000 downloads on Android.  


Zoom’s programming ‘Turn On’


On 26 June this year, Times Network revamped its 10 year old Bollywood and lifestyle brand Zoom with a new tagline ‘Turn On.’


The channel now plans to change itself drastically. “The customers are evolving and so we too had to,” said Zoom as VP and product head Sunder Venkatraman.


According to Venkatraman, the research by the team shows that consumers today want fast, short and quick content, especially for a channel like Zoom. “We already have a digital platform to support us and so with the revamp, we have decided to stress on TV, digital and short programming, which is smarter,” he added.  


As part of the revamp, five new properties have been added to the channel. These include Kangana Ranaut’s My Life and StyleOn the Road with Farhan Akhtar, Man Up with Randeep Hooda, Funtanatan with Sugandha and Ishqwala Love with Miss Malini. “All these are five to 10 minute short shows,” informed Venkatraman. 


The channel currently has only one long form (half an hour) show called Planet Bollywood. This will go up to two, with the launch of a food and lifestyle show Thank God It's Fryday, this August“These shows will be used for appointment viewing,” he said.   


In order to market the revamped channel, Zoom has readied a four week long marketing plan, which kickstarted on 26 June. “The whole of BCCL is behind us and we have a strong asset supporting us,” Venkatraman informed. The channel has taken 200 hoardings in about 15 cities to promote the new look. That apart, a lot of promotion will be done across digital platforms. 


Additionally Zoom has set up an entire branded content team, which is looking at a large number of brand association shows. The first of this will go on air in August with Philips Air Fryer Thank God It's Fryday.


Post the revamp, the channel is investing heavily on content packaging. “A lot of brands in the lifestyle space are already showing a keen interest in joining hands with us to create properties for the channel. All conversations are ongoing,” he informed adding that a lot of shows will be launched by the end of this year.   


MN+ for the English movie enthusiasts


The English movie channel from the Times Network stable went live on 1 July. The new channel MN+ is for niche English movie fans.


“MN+ is an all new English channel experience that will showcase must-watch movies in HD – movies that are universally celebrated and debated. It will offer an experience that will make every moment valuable for the viewer, and thereby give them the Gold Class Experience of Hollywood,” said Times Network senior vice president and head English entertainment cluster Vivek Srivastava.


The MN+ library, which comprises over 1500 movies across genres, will sell ad slots at a premium rate, with just six minutes of advertisement.

The network, which is currently emphasising on digital, has decided to spend 25 per cent of its marketing budget on digital media.


Launch of Property Now


The network is also gearing up to launch a real estate channel in Property Now. According to sources the channel will launch in September, this year.

With all the high octane activity up its sleeves, the Times Network will be the one to watch out for in the coming months.

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