One Big Idea by Ashish Bhasin: There is no such thing as a niche channel

04 Feb,2013

By Ashish Bhasin, Chairman India & CEO South East Asia, Aegis Media


In my view, the best service niche channels can do to themselves is to think of themselves as neither ‘Niche’ nor ‘Channels’. Just this One Big Idea can transform them as a genre.


What we refer to as ‘Niche’ is in contrast to channels getting more viewership. But that is with reference to a different universe. In its own space, when the universe is redefined as the audience relevant to that channel, it is not niche, it is mass for that universe of the target audience. So an English movies channel, catering to only those people who are interested in English movies, is niche when compared to the total TV viewers, and hence will have a miniscule rating of less than one percent, but it may capture 40 or 50 per cent of audiences that are interested in English movies. How is it ‘Niche’ for them?


Likewise, thinking of themselves as a ‘Channel’ is a mistake. They are an efficient way of connecting with special-interest consumers. In today’s highly digitized and personalized world, their efforts need to be all-encompassing, around the audience. Web, mobile, social media, activation, ground events, OOH and other means of interactivity have to be woven into their very existence, not as a promotional tool. They should see themselves as content creators for a special-interest audience and hence create content that transcends one-way broadcast.


Actually they are in a sweet spot if they get it right. We all know that the consumer is king and content is the route to the king. The so-called niche channels have both. They just need to think differently and tap into their strengths, and not get worried about their share of the total viewing universe.


As always, some will do it better than others and thrive, others won’t and will barely survive. The latter group will be those that continue to think of themselves as ‘Niche Channels’.


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