The Anchor: Sanjay Reddy on 7 reasons why regional GECs should be treated differently

26 Sep,2011

#1 Ethnicity and Culture: India is a multi-cultural society, where every state has its own culture and language. Shows that do well in Hindi Speaking Markets (HSM) might not do so well in Tamil Nadu or even Andhra Pradesh. The GECs of the market need to show content that is in tandem with the culture of the masses.


#2 Identification & Familiarity: Viewers like to feel associated with content that they can identify with and which feels familiar. Any major shift from this safe zone can sometimes (not always) lead to the viewer leaving the show. Most of these regional markets have their own movie Industries, showcasing their need for differentiation and attraction to what seems familiar.


#3 Targeted Advertising: Most retailers look for the most cost-effective way to reach their target audience. If the TG is based only in Maharashtra, it does not make sense to advertise on a Hindi channel as the spillover would be tremendous. Thanks to the presence of Marathi channels in the region, the ROI is high and the spillover is limited. Having a strong GEC with content targeted at the regional market makes it a more appealing and value-for-money proposition for the advertiser.


#4 Continued Experiments with Programming: Regional GECs speak to a smaller audience compared to the Hindi GECs. Hindi GEC need to provide content that caters across HSM giving it the chance to experiment with content and create shows that might not appeal to masses in small towns but might end up doing well in metros and big cities. In case of Regional TV GECs, yes sure here also people can experiment but anything too over the top might not go well will the audience and as most brands look at regional TV for targeted advertising, there are only a few mistakes that a channel can make, a typical chicken and egg situation.


#5 Relationships in South and North GECs: When it comes to relationships, North and South India have a few differences. In AP a man can get married to his sister’s daughter – something that is totally unheard of in the north, similarly a marriage between a man and his bhabhi is an accepted fact, something that won’t be taken well in AP. This was just a small example but surely both GECs need to have different treatment in story structure and relationships.


#6 Production Costs: Given the kind of advertising spends a regional channel sees, compared to a national Hindi GEC, it would be unfair to compare the two. Sets from the top Hindi shows are too high-maintenance for regional channels. There are regional channels that have spent a lot on their sets and shows but there can be only one show in the channel that can get such lavish budgets.



#7 Influence of Western Culture: HSMs are more prone to western cultural influences, something that can be seen with successful shows like Indian Idol, India’s Got Talent, KBC, Big Boss, Masterchef India etc, which are remakes of popular international shows. Shows with a contemporary packaging haven’t done too well in regional markets.


Sanjay Reddy is EVP – South Cluster, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited

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