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Channel [V] refreshes itself; new shows, new packaging

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MUMBAI: When things are going well, change to take them to another level, is a leitmotif that many an innovator follows. The Star India network owned Channel [V] seems to be going the same route. In July 2012, it revamped itself as a youth general entertainment channel with a focus on reality. That worked reasonably well for it. 17 months later it is all ready for another rejig: there's a new cool logo with the tagline "Correct Hai", new packaging and even a new programming line up.

Channel [V] has undergone many a revamp over the past few years, probably such is the requirement of the audience which is its core viewer - the youth. The purpose of the current reinvention: engage even better with them.

The logo has the same [V] brand but on a band-aid like patch being peeled off with "All New" above it. The tag line is even more interesting: one of the 'Rs' in the Correct is reversed while the Hai is in the Hindi script. Obviously, the idea is to speak the language of the youth and there is a hint of irreverence in its approach even while keeping middle class sensibilities in mind.

Says Channel [V] EVP & general manager Prem Kamath: “The baseline reflects us - what we call the brand character. It also states, 'Politically incorrect and emotionally correct. The new shows that we have created reflect the baseline and have been developed around the same theme.”

Slated to air from 25 November, the four new shows Kamath is referring to will have limited runs and straddle the programming genres of comedy, drama, thriller and reality.

Sadda Haq produced by Yash Patnaik's Beyond Dreams is slated to air six days a week at 6.30 pm and is the story of Sanyukta Agrawal, a young Delhi girl who challenges the patriarchal world and breaks the stereotypes!

Sudhir and Seema Sharma's Sunshine Productions is the producer of Paanch: Don't Get Mad Get Even and It's Complicated. The first is the story 18-year-old Roshni, a shy girl who enters a college in Mumbai to ‘right some wrongs’ and airs Wednesday and Thursday from 6 to 6.30 pm while the second is about three young couples who deal with their relationship problems and will air on Friday-Saturday at the same time slot.

Confessions of an Indian Teenager, from the Balaji Telefilms stable, features the young Vaibhav Sharma who shares the day to day concerns of the youth - once again from 6 to 6.30 pm on Mondays and Tuesdays.

The new shows are slated to replace Crazy Super Ishq and Suvreen Guggal - Topper of the year - both of which had quite some traction with Channel [V] viewers but had probably reached their end of life.

Prem Kamath is taking Channel [V] to another youth GEC level.

“We firmly believe that both variety and periodic change are very essential if you have to stay connected to the youngsters," explains Kamath. "The change in logo and introduction of new programmes are reflective of that. Over the years, we have realised that youngsters need variety, refreshment and change. The need for it is significantly higher for a youth-centric channel than for regular GECs or other channels."

Kamath says there is a great deal of emphasis in Channel [V] to get the right shows, right stories in; it's not just about coming up with new packaging alone. “Even before the first shot, we had the complete story penned down,” he points out. “Nobody watches your channel just because of packaging and its graphics. People watch a channel when it has a lot of content and variety. It adds freshness and newness to the channel.”

"We are talking to young audiences and we are creating a youth general entertainment channel. We firmly believe that there is a huge market for youth centric shows and that most of the GECs lack variety. We are trying to create a viable option,” he adds.

Estimates are that around Rs 5 crore has been kept aside to communicate the all new Channel [V] to viewers. Television, some outdoors, some print and a heck of a lot of online activity is being brought into play. It's official facebook page has been buzzing with teaser activity since earlier this month. Promos of the new shows and teasers around the revamp, have been keeping the comments and likes coming. With 3.1 million likes, that's a large audience that's been engaged. Then probing social issues have been raised which have got this community interacting.

Questions like:

* Young children made to do hard labour for long hours. Kya yeh Correct Hai ?

* Some people marry and get to know their partners. Or some want to know their partners and then marry. Hence they "LIVE IN CorrectHai?

* Katrina Hindi bole toh cool. Main Hindi bolu to uncool. Kya yeh CorrectHai?

Divya Radhakrishnan feels that the channel has taken the right move.

Eight films of 15 seconds each have been created and "we will be uploading them only after launching the new look on 25 November. We believe that once people see the brand films, they should switch on to Channel V and see a completely refreshed channel,” reveals Kamath.

He points out that online promotions are a big part of the marketing campaign. "The idea is to get as many video views of the promos as we can. Once the viewers sample the change being offered, they will understand that it is very different from the kind of shows they have been watching. We are hoping some of our videos to go viral as well. Our objective is to try and introduce the maximum number of people to the new offerings through the audio-visual medium.”

Many a brand has hopped on board as advertisers on Channel [V] since the relaunch last year: Pepsi, Coco-Cola, Airtel, Nokia, Blackberry, Deodorants, two-wheelers and among others.

Media veterans are already offering kudos to Kamath and his team on the new look. Says Helios Media's boss Divya Radhakrishnan: “Every channel has to re-establish itself to look vibrant and young. For a youth channel, it needs to be done more often and they have done the right thing. You need to keep re-orienting yourself time and again so that the viewers don't get bored.”

Now it's over to the fickle and rapidly evolving youth to prove her right.

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