Rooted in the region worked for Big Magic: Sunil Kumaran

15 Apr,2013

It’s celebration time at the headquarters of Reliance Broadcast Network Limited (RBNL), also known as the Big TV network. Big Magic, the GEC which marked the entry of RBNL into the regional entertainment space, completed two years of existence last week. Positioned as a regional General Entertainment Channel (GEC) for the Hindi heartland of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand, it features family dramas, crime shows, reality shows and weekend blockbuster movies. MxMIndia posed a few questions to Sunil Kumaran, Business Head, Regional Channels at RBNL to get a better idea of how Big Magic has done since its launch in 2011.


Congratulations on Big Magic turning two. Two years for any media entity implies that it’s here to stay. Would you say that for Big Magic?

The two-year journey has been stupendous and extremely encouraging. We started with the belief that there is an opportunity in the market for a regional player offering meaningful content which is relevant and has a deeper connect with consumers.


This belief has been endorsed by our strong performance and consistent growth in the market. Over the last two years, we have launched some marquee shows like Big Bal Kalakaar, Police Files, Pyaar Ya Dehshat, Khul Ka Sim Sim, Big Memsaab and more, each of these resonating local sentiments and entertainment preferences.


Encouraged by our success in this market, we have also ventured into launching Big Magic – Bihar and Jharkhand, with shows tailored to suit these markets.


For those not in the know, could you tell us what have been the highs and lows for the channel?

What worked for us was the localization of the shows and our radio network strength, which allowed us to amplify quickly and gave us speed to market.


How is it managing in a world where the big GECs, big movie channels and big sporting events occupy mindspace. In that world how big Magic weave its magic?

Big Magic’s unique proposition is the fact that it is rooted in the region. The programming team is based out of the region and has a much better understanding of the nuances of the local populace.


GECs are challenged with their ability to provide relevant content for specific markets. For us, what works is that we are focused on a particular market and our ability to offer tailored content is significantly higher.


How have advertisers taken to the channel?

We have all the large national as well as regional/ local advertisers on the channel, ranging FMCG, consumer durables, auto, BFSI, SME’s and more…


We’ve had channels like Dabbang already in existence before you came in… so do you think you’ve had a second mover advantage?

There was no channel offering variety entertainment content in this space and most of the others operated in the infotainment space. We actually had the advantage to be the first to offer a holistic entertainment channel for the first time for the region.


Khul Ja Sim Sim has been a huge success. There were hundreds of people who wrote to us at MxMIndia requesting for access to the show. You’ve said that it’s been the turning point for your channel… Talk us through how it has been the turning point? And life after that (for the channel?)

KJSS was an adaptation of the popular international format Let’s Make a Deal. We bought the rights and adapted it for the region. The game show caters to the entire family and being the first of its kind for the region, the response received has been over-whelming. We brought in the original Indian host Aman Varma to host the show and we also invested in marketing the show aggressively across the state of Uttar Pradesh. This has managed to create a huge traction for the show and the channel.


Have all the distribution hassles been eased? Would you say digitization in the Phase 2 will be of some help?

We were very clear right from the beginning, that distribution, for a regional channel like ours is extremely critical and had ensured that we are available across all major platforms right from launch. With digitization, we are now available in all the regional digital platforms too.


What plans for the year ahead?

We will build on our franchises like Big Memsaab, KJSS, Big Fame Star and also venture strongly into the fiction space. You will hear of some exciting new announcements shortly.


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