Get set for the funny stuff with ‘Comedy Central’

18 Jan,2012


By A Correspondent


Viacom18 has announced the launch of its sixth channel, ‘Comedy Central’, a 24×7 channel dedicated to English language comedy content, which will go on air from January 23. The channel is said to have a mix of all genres within comedy ranging from sitcoms to sketch comedy, British comedy, Stand-Up and Gags, among others.


Comedy Central will air mainly international content with English sub-titles. Some of the popular shows to be aired on the channel are Saturday Night Live, The Office, Seinfeld, The Wonder Years, That 70s Show, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and SouthPark, to name a few.


According to Mr Ferzad Palia, Sr. Vice President and General Manager, English Entertainment, Viacom18 Media Pvt. Ltd, although there could be fragmentation in English language channels, the viewership has gone up, so has the time spent viewing English language channels and the reach. He also said that English channels are one of the most under-served genres however there is still a huge scope. “There has been growth in English literacy and in the next four or five years, English language literacy is expected to grow manifold. We also observed that Indians are increasingly able to laugh at themselves, at least a little more than what we used to. There are a number of factors to launch ‘Comedy Central, this are just one of them, thus we feel this is the right time for the launch.”


He further said: “The format of the channel is the best of comedy. We are picking up the best content from across the world. We have different programmes for different audience in different time-bands. It is a combination of content for the mature audience and for the youth. We have significant and equal doses for both. In addition to these we are premiering about 7 or 8 shows on weekends.”


‘Comedy Central’ aims to reach atleast 20 million households across the country at its launch and will be available across analog, digital cable and DTH. While the channel will initially start off with Airtel DTH and Dish TV, it aims to be available across all DTH platforms within the next 60 days. The channel has hired BBH as its Creative Agency while Vizeum is the Media Agency.


Since 80 per cent of English viewers are said to be from the metros, the content will be largely metro-centric. Even on the distribution front, the channel will be targeting the key metros, namely Hyderabad, Pune, Ahmedabad, Mumbai,Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkata.


The business model that ‘Comedy Central’ aims to follow is primarily advertising-led followed by subscription, but besides this, the channel also plans to reach out to the audience through web, mobile and merchandising, among others. The channel plans to create special packages and interaction mechanisms, relevant not just to a particular brand but even the show, for advertisers.


In a prepared statement, Bob Bakish, President and CEO – Viacom International Media Networks said: “Comedy Central is one of Viacom’s most distinct and successful franchises globally. We feel that the time is now right for Viacom18 to introduce Comedy Central in India, given the growth curve of the Indian television entertainment market.”


Mr Haresh Chawla, Group CEO-Viacom18 said: “With the launch of Comedy Central, Viacom18 now marks its presence in another under-served genre – English comedy. We are confident of Comedy Central establishing itself as one of the dominant players in the English entertainment space in Indian television.”


The marketing campaign will be unveiled only after ‘Comedy Central’ has been officially launched. But the channel plans innovations across television, print, outdoor, radio, below-the-line and digital. The marketing plan is also said to involve strategic partnerships with lifestyle touch points like coffee chains, theatres, clubs, gyms, salons, shopping destinations and other hangouts.


The tagline of ‘Comedy Central’ will be ‘Laugh it Off’. It will target audiences in the age bracket of 15 years and above. Since late 2006, ‘Comedy Central’ has expanded globally with localized channels in Poland, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Hungary, Sweden, Ireland, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Israel and Spain.


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