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Will increase ads after sampling phase of Colors Tamil: Ravish Kumar

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MUMBAI: Viacom18 has forayed into yet another regional language with the launch of Colors Tamil on 19 February 2018. Within 10 days, the network claims to have garnered positive response from the viewers on social media, advertisers and the agencies.

Viacom18 head-regional entertainment Ravish Kumar, in an interaction with Indiantelevision.com, says that among Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali and Odia, Kannada GEC market has more than 30 per cent share of the market share.

Viacom18 already has five general entertainment channels in regional languages under the name Colors, Tamil is the another language that the network is betting on with crossed fingers. The region has a strong TV broadcast market, one of the biggest in the country.

Edited excerpts:

How has the response been to Colors Tamil?

While it’s early in the day to comment on the feedback, the response from the viewers on social media, advertisers, agencies and the industry per se has been very positive and encouraging. People are appreciating the strong connect, the fabulous production values, the choice of stories and the manner of storytelling. Viewers have gone overboard, online, advising Arya on his endeavor to choose his soulmate. We are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping for the best.

Are you looking at a phased launch of new shows?

We have launched three and a half hours of weekday programming and two hours of weekend programming and we intend to increase those hours basis viewer reaction.

What has been the advertisers' response post the channel launch?

We have Nippon Paints and India Gate Basmati Rice on Arya’s show (Enga Veetu Mapilla). Nippon Paints has come onboard as channel partners as well. Plenty of advertisers, both national and retail, have shown interest in partnering with us. Currently, we want to optimise the sampling of the channel amongst the viewers and hence are onboarding advertisers in a phased manner. Once we move past the initial launch phase, you will see a lot more ads on the channel.

Is Colors Tamil a part of the base pack of all the DTH operators?

Colors Tamil is free for an introductory period. The channel is widely distributed across key players both on DTH platforms as well as cable operators.

How different is your content compared to the other players in the market?

It’s different on two levels – both at the conceptual and the production levels. We are not only doing shows which are engaging and socially relevant but also bringing cinematic value on television through Alexa camera, top quality sound, enhanced production value and real locations resulting in an unprecedented never-seen-before look and feel.

Of all your regional channels, which language has the highest viewership? 

We are a strong No. 1 player in the Kannada GEC market and have more than 30 per cent share of the market pie. The huge surge of advertisers and love from the viewers prompted us to launch a second GEC – Colors SUPER, which is one of the fastest growing and already counted in the top tier channels.

How big is the overall regional GEC market according to you? 

The overall regional GEC ad market is at Rs 6100 crore currently.

According to BARC data, the viewership of Marathi GECs witnessed a spurt in the latter half of 2017. Do you think this phenomenon reflects the larger trend of viewers shifting to regional GECs?

India is an ‘and’ market. What we are seeing is an increase in the overall television viewership and this growth is reflected in the increasing affinity to local / regional content. The regional channels have been producing a lot of quality content and hence are attracting a good number of new viewers. Colors Marathi, for instance, introduced quite a few good concepts last year like Ghadge & Suun, Sur nava dhyaas nava, Tumcha saathi kaypan, Radha Prem Rangi Rangli etc. which saw a jump in viewership for us.

What genre of programming is liked by the Tamil audience?

The Tamil viewers are progressive. They look forward to content that resonate with their culture and ethos. They look forward to quality content, something that reflects their strong connect with their land as well as allows them to expand their horizons.

What do you make of Hindi shows being dubbed in regional languages and vice-versa?

In our experience, good content always cuts across markets and languages. If the story has local connect or viewers identify with the content, dubbing does work. Viewers are waiting to discover good content. Great stories will work anywhere in the world. Our endeavor is to provide the viewers larger than life content, whether its originally produced or dubbed. Dubbed South Indian movies work big on our Hindi movie channels. Likewise even good Hindi shows dubbed in South Indian languages have great potential to resonate with the viewers. Our ambition is to make a show in Tamil that will go global.

Is the dubbing and subtitling cost significant? 

In order to do quality work, you have to pay a premium. As I’ve said before, some stories are universal and can connect with viewers across languages. The advantage of having a network play is that, based on regional synergies, we can cross-pollinate content. And of-course, the dubbing quality has to be in sync with the premium production quality that we offer.

Also read:

Viacom18 rolls up its sleeves for Tamil market share

Viacom18 widens regional reach, to launch Colors Tamil in Q4

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