Viacom18 rebrands ETV franchise to Colors

MUMBAI: In a cutthroat competitive world of regional television viewing, what is essential for those in the business is to constantly keep rebranding in order to keep in touch with its existing viewers, while adding new ones. 


In an attempt to do the same, Viacom18 has decided to licence its existing brand name Colors to Prism TV, which runs the five regional general entertainment channels namely: ETV Marathi, ETV Bangla, ETV Oriya, ETV Kannada and ETV Gujarati. As part of this, the channels will not only shed the ETV name, thus donning the Colors identity, but will also see induction of new programming. 


The rebranding of the regional GECs will augment the Colors franchise while facilitating higher resonance for the regional channels vis-a-vis competition.


“The strategic pillar of the success for the network has been sharper segmentation,” said Viacom18 Media group CEO Sudhanshu Vats.


According to Vats, one of the logical pieces in segmentation is looking at geographical, regional and linguistic segmentation, which is what the network plans to do with the rebranding exercise.


Putting forth some statistics, Vats said that 59 per cent of India speaks in regional language and 41 per cent speaks in Hindi. “It is important that we develop our footprints in the regional space as well. As we go forward, I feel that the viewership in regional will only grow upwards,” he said. 


The Hindi entertainment viewership is currently at 44 per cent, comprising about 29 per cent of Hindi general entertainment and 14-15 per cent of Hindi movies, whereas the regional viewership is at about 30 per cent. The third is kids channels with 8-9 per cent. So between them, it constitutes about 85 per cent of viewership in India. “This underlines the importance of regional, which is also growing faster than any other segment,” he informed.  


Vats also feels that as India develops, the pride in regional language will only get strengthened. “The viewership will grow, and when this grows, the ad dollars will follow,” he added.  


Rebranding exercise


The teaser for the rebranding was launched on 3 March. The network plans to undertake the transition of the ETV franchise to Colors in a phase-wise manner. The first to rebrand is ETV Marathi, which will turn to Colors Marathi on 22 March. For the same, the communication will begin from 6 March, after which for almost two weeks, viewers can see the flip happening from ETV to Colors Marathi and then, on 22 March, on the occasion of Gudi Padwa, the final logo of Colors Marathi will be launched.


The transition for all the five ETV channels will take place over a period of two months. “We are staggering the transition across two months because we want to bring alive the new identity with the agrarian new year of each of the regions we are present in. All the channel logos will be unveiled in an unique way, keeping the culture of the region in mind and taking roots from the place they come from,” informed Vats. 


Apart from the logo, a few channels have also undergone a change in its tagline. The new tagline for Colors Marathi is ‘Saaz Nava, Rang Nava.’ The new programmes launched on the channel include: Marathi International Cinema and Theatre Awards on 22 March, Majhiya Mahera on 23 March and Sakhi on 23 March.


Colors Bangla, with its new tagline ‘Tomar Sapner Rong’ will launch on 12 April. The new show Great Music Gurukul will air on 13 April.  Colors Gujarati with its new tagline ‘Dil Thi Gujarati’ will launch between 13 - 18 April. As for the new programmes, the channel will air Kumkum na Pagla Padya and Preet, Piyu ane Pannaben. Colors Kannada will launch with two new shows on 26 April and Colors Oriya will rebrand on 14 April. 


The logos have been created in-house by Prism TV, which currently runs the five regional channels. 


Talking about the new shows, Vats said, “As this rebranding happens, we will look at a lot of synergies. This will include new shows, both fiction and non-fiction, events and combination of both. This is necessary for people to understand and recognise the journey we are undertaking.”


The network has a big history. “Each of the channels run by Prism TV command a certain level of trust and loyalty from their viewers.  The rebranding exercise of Colors will bring  a new wave of freshness to the channel. In an ideal way, we want to have the best of both worlds: so while we continue to have the heritage, with rebranding and new shows, we look at injecting modernity to the channel,” opined Vats.  


The network through the exercise is looking at getting in new viewers and retaining the old ones. “Rebranding will increase the viewership footprint of Colors, which is important, thus extending our brand in the regional space was the most logical way forward. Also from the viewer’s perspective, ETV has a heritage, loyalty and trust. However the channel started 15 years back and the viewers of ETV have aged with the channel. It is therefore important that we get a reappraisal of the channel and get the youngsters in,” said Vats.


When queried on whether the rebranding of regional channels would see any change in the programming of Colors, Vats said, “With time, it would be a two way process. While we our flagship GEC could share best practices and insights with the regional counterparts, the regional brands will also help the brand experiment with new content ideas.”


He further added, “Subject to regulatory approvals, the regional channels could become a part of Viacom18, and once that happens there could be certain experiments that go well in the regional space, which could be brought to Colors as well. Therefore there is scope for learning to both sides."


The network undertook two to three rounds of research over a period of six to nine months before finalizing the new logo. The research highlighted that:


* Colors has a strong positive imagery around high production values, bold themes, innovative non-fiction and programming that drives change/social programming.


 * Colors is the only channel that has achieved superlative success and ratings across both fiction and non-fiction shows. It is regarded by viewers as an “all rounder” and an “activist”. In summary a rebel with a cause.


* Colors does not shy away from taking risks and placing big bets e.g. 24   


* Merging the strong legacy and rich cultural roots of ETV channels with the positive imagery and entrepreneurial DNA of Colors shall result in:

- Potentially the best of both worlds. Continually delighting viewers and exceeding their expectations

- A quantum leap for regional content which is contemporary and progressive yet rooted firmly in a bedrock of rich values and tradition

- Development of the ecosystem spurring the creation of jobs and emergence of writers, producers, directors, actors etc

- Cost effective and targeted solutions for advertisers 


Revenue Jump 


The purpose of rebranding to Colors, according to Vats, is for the Prism team to be able to exploit the opportunity in its entirety and that would mean increase in viewership and ad revenue. 


“Viacom18 has been growing in strong double digits. We have been growing at about 17 odd per cent, so I will expect the regional space to grow faster than that,” he informed.  



Marketing buzz


The channel rebranding is scheduled to coincide with regional festivals that mark new beginnings. 360 degree marketing and communication campaigns encompassing TV, cinema, cable, on-ground, radio, outdoor as well as digital platforms, customised to individual regional markets, will amplify the change.


“We will bring alive the rebranding of the regional general entertainment channel cluster through enhanced packaging and an integrated marketing approach,” informed Vats.


Campaigns for each regional brand will leverage the distinct fervour of the corresponding state or region through region specific events and / or on-ground activations involving popular local influencers.


Each campaign will run for approximately four-five weeks, beginning with Colors Marathi on 22 March 2015. Coinciding with the Maharashtrian New Year - Gudi Padva, a high decibel event will unveil the new face of Colors Marathi.


Similar extravaganzas will also celebrate the unveiling of the new brand identities of Colors Oriya, Colors Bangla, Colors Gujarati and Colors Kannada.

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