Shemaroo TV adjusts break even parameters to account for Covid2019 crisis

The channel will look at original content once this phase is over.

MUMBAI: Shemaroo Entertainment Ltd's (Shemaroo) entry into the Hindi GEC space comes at a time when the TV industry is fraught with unprecedented challenges. Content consumption is up but GECs haven't seen fresh content in over a month even as advertising revenue has dipped due to the Covid2019 crisis. 

The 57-year-old legacy brand’s new venture, Shemaroo TV, which will go live on 1 May, has entered the space with 6.5 hours of programming each day with shows like Devon Ke Dev…Mahadev, Dil Se Di Dua Saubhagyawati Bhava, Great Indian Laughter Challenge, etc. As the current crisis has halted all production, the channel will look at original content once this phase is over.

A channel launch is generally accompanied by a 360-degree marketing plan, but in this peculiar situation, Shemaroo will optimise TV and digital media as much as possible to make consumers aware of its presence, explains Shemaroo Entertainment broadcast business COO Sandeep Gupta. 

It is also looking at a number of partnerships with like-minded brands inside and outside the media industry to ensure the message reaches to the target audiences. Shemaroo Entertainment marketing and communication head Rahul Mishra added that a lot of its marketing campaigning will be scheduled along with original programming roll out.

Shemaroo Entertainment CEO Hiren Gada also explained the rationale behind making the new channel FTA. According to him, post the new tariff order, there has been a great opportunity for FTA channels. Moreover, the Hindi GEC segment is not well served in the space. He also added that they chose a low-cost entry strategy to lower the risk while the market has seen a few GEC channels failing lately.

While there are some logistical issues in terms of distribution, the company is confident to make its new channel available to 80 per cent of Indian diaspora and the HSM. It is eying to be present on all DTH platforms except Sun DTH and on all leading MSOs. 

“Being a GEC content channel, you have to get eyeballs quickly. If you don’t board your bus soon, the audience will not want to see our content midway. We are aiming to be at par or slightly lower-than-top competition in FTA channels in the next 45 days in terms of viewership,” Gupta said.

While brands are now tightening their purse strings amid the Covid2019 crisis, ad rates have also fallen down. Shemaroo has not on-boarded any advertisers yet. Gada is optimistic that by the time they will be out in the market pitching ad-rates, the industry may go back closer to normalcy with ad rates bouncing back from pressure.

The company is aware of the fact that the revenue might be affected for one-two years but also confident that it will be normalised later since it is a long-term product. “ While the pandemic has changed many things including revenue outlook in the ultra short term, we have also adjusted our investment, cost structure for a faster break-even or a better ROI,” he added.

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