History TV18 @ 1: Factual, eclectic, successful

10 Oct,2012

 

By Meghna Sharma

 

A year ago, it may have seen like yet another big bang launch of an all-new channel crowding the Indian satellite space. The niche offering, History TV18, a joint venture between TV18 and A+E Networks, aimed to redefine the factual entertainment genre through an eclectic mix of local and international shows.

 

Ajay Chacko

“As we stand at this first anniversary milestone, I believe we have challenged some of the established rules of the game in this genre. Our consistent leadership in time spent per viewer and our phenomenal contribution to the genre growth is a testament of our success,” CEO Ajay Chacko told MxMIndia. “This is just the beginning. Now that we’ve carved a niche for ourselves in the genre, we look forward to replicating our global leadership in the factual entertainment space in India.”

 

As the channel broadens its horizons and carves a niche for itself with its edgy and differentiated programming mix featuring shows with greater emphasis on creating fact-based entertainment, thrill and action formats that appeal to a much wider audience, Sangeetha Aiyer, the Channel’s General Manager (Marketing) says, “The journey has been quite interesting so far. When we launched our intent was to make a distinct change in the factual entertainment genre and after one year of completion, we are honoured to have achieved this. Immediately after the launch, History TV18 accelerated growth for the entire genre from 2 percent and 15 percent in ’10 and ’11 to a whopping 29 percent post-launch.”

 

Sangeetha Aiyer

The channel boasts of delivering content which is vividly different. “Our content is contemporary; full of action and adventure. It has lot to do with achievement. It is about people making history every day. Also our objective has been to grow the factual entertainment genre and not just compete within the genre. We also got overwhelming response for our The Greatest Indian initiative. It was History TV18’s first local production in India and successfully garnered amazing response over the three month period with over 2 crore votes coming through missed calls and online. The campaign also sustained a healthy engagement on social media platforms reaching over 20 lakh Facebook users through viral content,” adds Ms Aiyer.

 

The channel differentiates itself from the rest in the genre and claims that History TV18 is a factual entertainment channel, emphasizing that its content is based on ‘facts’ and has a heavy dose of ‘entertainment’, whereas other channels in this genre are more of factual knowledge. The USP of the channel lies in its programming mix and the target audience of the channel is CS 15+ AB market. However, another reason what makes it different from the rest is the fact that it is available in six languages (English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali & Marathi) in full HD across all major markets in India. “This has helped us enormously to broad-base and grows the entire genre,” says Ms Aiyer.

 

The marketing budgets in the launch year of the channel was in the range of Rs 8-10 crore, but in the subsequent years the channel plans to consolidated and leverage network synergies.

 

Dhruv Jha

In terms of ratings, the channel accelerated growth for the entire genre from 2 percent and 15 percent in ’10 and ’11 to a generous 29 percent post-launch. But how is the genre doing?

 

According to Dhruv Jha, business head, Lodestar UM Content and Experiences, there is definitely a market and audience for the genre, but it will always remain a niche. “Viewers of such channels are a sub-set of a larger audience which are very loyal to it and seek more and more of it. And as time progresses, we’ll see an increase in the number of viewers too but it will never to able to attain the appeal/popularity of a mass-consumed channel.”

 

Janardhan Pandey

Agreeing with Mr Jha, Janardhan Pandey, associate VP, DDB Mudra expands, “I see this genre picking up audience consistently with increased mass appeal. The channels have done quite well in attracting audiences. I see a good amount of viewership addition to this segment in coming years and I am sure these players have been doing exactly what the audiences want to experience, ie the right mix of world-class programming aligned locally.”

 

The channel promises to continue to push the envelope in terms of a differentiated, clutter-breaking, world-class programming mix; and thus grow the genre. “In the process we plan to consolidate our leadership in 6 metros, 1 mn+ towns and finally all India. One of our great successes this year was the phenomenal success of our first local production ‘The Greatest Indian’. We plan to replicate this through similar innovative, path-breaking concepts,” concludes Ms Aiyer.

 

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