Marketing TV shows, Indian channel style
(Posted on 2 January 2006)

For TV channel marketers and programmers it was a challenging year. How to get their programmes noticed above the din of everyone else's marketing noise.

For the Star Network, the challenge was getting the buzz back for KBC 2, after a hiatus of four years. Says Star India senior vice president marketing and communication Ajay Vidyasagar: "KBC 2 was launched with one of the biggest marketing budgets ever in the history. The show had a five phased launch - all of which happened before the 5 August launch date."

It worked well as the SMS and phoneins and ratings of the show reveal.

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for Star Plus' gamut of activities around 'KBC 2'

Nach Baliye on Star One was also a case in point. Hoardings with the participating star couples were splashed across the country during the entire run of the show. On the other hand, the contestants of The Great Indian Laughter Challenge -- yesterday's 'pehchan kauns' -- have gone on to become icons of sorts today by their sheer entertaining power (not to mention the power of the network).

Zee TV's new show Saath Phere was launched as also a big ticket game show Kam Ya Zyaada. "The marketing campaigns of Saath Phere and Kam Ya Zyaada will top the chart when speaking about Zee TV's significant efforts," states Zee TV marketing head Tarun Mehra.

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to know Star World's 'Lost' marketing activity

Kam Ya Zyaada was promoted aggressively through its network channels. The channel shot the show promos using its soap stars including the Hum Paanch starcast. As the gameshow launch coincided with Zee Sports clinching the cricket rights, the promos found pride of place on the sports channel. Apart from using the tried and tested methods of radio, print and outdoors, the channel conducted a lot of ground activities to promote the show in the pre-launch phase.

Zee has also been using city wise ground activities as reach-building programmes for Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge. "We have been holding ground activities in association with various popular local events such as Delhi's Youth Nexus. These gave a real feeling of reality because the public could watch the performances of the contestants live," says Mehra.

Sahara One branded local trains in Mumbai with 'Woh Rehne Waali Mehlon Ki'

Sahara One launched one of its big properties - Woh Rehne Waali Mehlon Ki - from the Rajashri stable in 2005. The channel went the whole hog to attract as many viewers as possible with unique initiatives. Special contests were conducted for Sahara Airlines passengers. Promotional activities were also held at super marts and multiplexes at the ground level.

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to know 'MTV Roadies' marketing activity

Movies and special events channel Max was also not far behind. To promote the Salman Khan starrer Lucky - No Time For Love, Max weaved a contest around it, which was promoted via print, radio and Internet across Mumbai, Kolkata and Ahmedabad. Apart from this an extensive van campaign across 30 cites and towns was also undertaken in order to have a direct connect to the consumer. "The response for the contest was overwhelming with close to 850,000 entries. This has been the highest response for any movie-based contest on Max or any other channel in the genre," says Max business head Albert Almeida. Although, the real thing is yet to come as the ICC World Cup 2007 creeps closer!

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for Vh1's big ticket marketing activity

Star Movies built curiosity and contests around its miniseries Lost. A five day intensive contest on radio with original Lost merchandise as the big prize was carried out. Apart from that, major multiplexes in Mumbai and Bangalore carried Lost promotional branding and launch promos before the start of theatrical releases. Meanwhile, arch rival HBO did some direct marketing activity. It organised parties in the Metros to celebrate its fifth anniversary. It also did a series of online contests, which were possible due to its studio tie ups. One prize consisted of a trip to New Zealand, while another saw a fan travel to Hong Kong for the premiere of Harry Potter And the Goblet of Fire.

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to know how kids' channels' marketing grew up

Zee Sports organised football screenings in pubs in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. Push was also given in Goa in a huge way. Mobile vans visited youth hangouts like nightclubs, malls and cineplexes with an aim to spread the message about the Federation Cup and get people to come to the stadiums.

ESPN Star Sports (ESS), on the other hand, also did marketing around its Premier Hockey League (PHL). When PHL kicked off earlier this year it had launched a PHL anthem 'Ek naya junoon!, which was sung by Sonu Nigam with Sandesh Shandilya as the music director.

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for Times' lifestyle channel's marketing activities

ESPN India chief financial officer Vijay Rajput claims that more than 19.8 million individuals sampled PHL in its inaugural year. The ad campaign aimed at bringing the regional affiliations to the fore by making people take pride in their socio-cultural roots. The campaign, ESS says, looks to reflect the core value of the respective community/region to make the league more involving for the audience. This will result in a bigger audience size and more intense inter-team rivalries.

And rivalries are only going to get more intense in the coming 12 months as channels try to get their programmes one up on each other. Marketing is going to get into an even higher gear.

Additional inputs by Ashwin Pinto, Bijoy AK and Manisha Bhattacharjee.

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