Big Magic undergoes revamp; observes 30% viewership growth

MUMBAI: Comedy is a serious business. It was in the year 2011 when Anil Ambani-led Reliance Broadcast Network Ltd (RBNL) announced its foray into regional television space with the launch of its Hindi entertainment channel - Big Magic (for Central India – MP /UP).

In 2013, tailored to meet the preferences of Hindi speaking markets of India, it was launched across Hindi Speaking Markets (HSM’s) on the back of phase II of cable TV digitisation.

In 2014, it launched as a national general entertainment channel for India, positioned as a humour destination which comprised light relationship dramas, rom-coms, sitcoms, movies and a historical comedy.

This year, it has shed its current logo and gone for a complete makeover by launching a fresh new look and channel identity. The content as part of the renewed strategic vision will be unpredictable, cutting edge, quirky, contemporary, surprising, differentiated, hilarious and entertaining; targeting families, but predominantly the male audience.

With original content including a high degree of humour, viewers will enjoy shows in the sitcom, non-fiction space, focused on building iconic characters which are stand out, quirky and funny. The content offered will be platform agnostic with a large play on the digital and mobile medium.

Research, the key factor

According to RBNL CEO Tarun Katial as the consumers’ taste changes dynamically and quickly, the channel wanted to sharpen its comedy positioning and appeal to the urban audiences’ mindset and bring about a relatable icon in its identity which is emoticon. “Today emoticon is used by everybody and it’s an extremely relatable form of communication amongst consumers,” he says.

Including regulatory approvals, it has been a four month process for the revamp of the channel. Extensive research was done amongst the core TG to understand the kind of comedy and content consumers want. The research showed that the content being desired was extremely dynamic, vibrant, surprising and iirreverent comedy and the logo is build on that thought. The new look has been designed by Purple Pink agency.

Talking about the new look identity, RBNL network creative director Paritosh Painter says, “At Big Magic, we strive to offer comedy content that is fresh, surprising, unpredictable and fully over the top. In line with our new campaign, we will continue our commitment to offer a comical line up of hilarious sitcoms, surprising and unpredictable short formats on topical issues, laugh out loud weekend special and festive specials.”

With the new identity, the channel aims to build a strong line-up of content at both long and short formats. With currently two and half hours to three hours of original content running everyday with shows like Akbar Birbal, Tedi Medi Family, Total Nadaniyaan amongst others, the channel is all set to take the original hours of content to 4 hours a day. Big Magic will launch two new shows in the next couple of months, one of which will be an unscripted show in the late primetime band and an irreverent young comedy in the early evening.

The channel will also air an animated series with Akbar Birbal and bring one of its Big FM 92.7 Radio show – Actor calling Actor on to television.

“On the content front, our attempt is to build a certain amount of iconic characters around male irreverent comedy. We believe that Indians are ready to laugh at each other and themselves. This is predominantly young urban male skewed content that we want to launch,” explains Katial.

In terms of marketing, the channel will strongly focus on digital and mobile. Katial believes that comedy content moves very quickly and goes viral on platforms like digital and mobile. “For us content is marketing and marketing is content,” he says.

Katial further reveals that after Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India started rolling out data, the channel has witnessed a 30 per cent growth in viewership.

For the record, the channel is available across all DTH platforms such as Tata Sky, Airtel Digital TV, Videocon d2h, DD Free Dish, Dish TV, Reliance Digital TV along with all cable operators including the likes of Hathway Cable & Datacom, Incable, Digicable, Den Networks, 7 Star, ABS, Siti Cable, Star Broadband and GTPL amongst others.

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