MUMBAI: After Hindi films, south Indian movies occupy the largest share of the Indian market and going by Deloitte, Andhra Pradesh happens to be one of the biggest contributors down south.
Looking to carve a niche in the Rs 1750 crore Telugu film industry aka Tollywood is the Tollywood Channel, a general entertainment channel focused on films, launched in August last year.
With nearly 250 films certified each year, the channel plans to differentiate itself by running regular film news and bulletins. “Andhra people are keen to know about the pre- and post- happenings of films but unfortunately, no one is bringing them such news except for certain magazines. Tollywood Cinema aims to bridge this gap,” says Tollywood Channel MD Seetaram Avvas.
Funded by construction and infrastructure major Agri Gold Group, which has invested close to Rs 100 crore in the channel, Tollywood Cinema has adopted an appointment viewing strategy targeting mainly females in the 15+ age group as well as youth interested in movies.
Current shows include a cookery show called Tollywood Vantakam, a dance show named Ragada and a celebrity cricket show. New shows in the pipeline include Brain of Tollywood with SP Balasubramanayam, Antakshari with singer Sunita and game show Ravamma Mahalaxmi with Ashwini. Two new sitcoms - Kishkinda and Chitram Bhalare Victram – are also lined up.
Presently, the focus is Telugu movies but the channel plans to foray into other language films as well. A relative newcomer, Tollywood Channel is confident of not only becoming popular but also generating a good turnover.
“The GEC market space is close to Rs 600 crores and we plan to become a Rs 100 crore channel within three years. For this year, the target is Rs 25 crores. We also plan to bring in some new fiction shows,” says Avvas.
Informing that the channel is presently following the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) 12 minute ad cap regulation, he adds: “We are eagerly looking forward to what the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) will be coming out with. The furore over TV ratings is a transitory setback and a temporary phase.”
As far as advertisers go, the Tatas are already on board and discussions are on with the likes of Hindustan Unilever, PG, RB GSK and Cadbury among others. A 30 second slot would cost anywhere between Rs 4000 and Rs 5000. Mediahouse Entertainment is handling adsales while creative is being taken care of in-house.
Available with MSOs such as Hathway and Digicable, plans are being firmed up for availability on the DTH platform.