RAJ TV: IN REVAMP MODE
Raj TV, the Tamil GEC, is in revamp mode. M Regunathan, Director, Raj Television Network is betting on innovations and new content to draw in viewers in the very competitive Tamil Nadu market
Since the launch of its flagship channel Raj TV in October 1994, the Raj Television Network, based in Chennai, has expanded its presence across the Southern States and today has 14 channels in its portfolio, in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi, and spans genres such as GECs, News, Movies and Music. The past decade has seen national players becoming more and more entrenched in the regional space, taking on the home-grown channels, making the Southern market a very competitive space. M Regunathan, Director, Raj Television Network says, “We are present in all the Southern markets amidst stiff competition and continue to stand in the market-place as a pay channel.”
Looking at the market landscape, Sun TV has long been the dominant leader in the Tamil Nadu market on the back of a strong fiction line-up and in the recent past, Star Vijay adopted the reality route which has paid dividends for the channel, helping it climb the ratings chart. Though Raj TV has lost ground in the market, all efforts are on to revamp the product. Banking on its position as ‘The People’s channel’, Raj TV is betting on innovations to grab eyeballs. Asked what would be Raj TV’s differentiator as far as content is concerned, Regunathan says, “We will focus on all forms of content - fiction, reality and feature films. Our strength is feature films as we have a very strong library.” A big shift in programming is the move to do away with dubbed content and focus on original content and the channel has also experimented with unique game-shows. Regunathan says with its core captive audience base in place, the step forward is a “slow and steady revamp”. With a fiction show, Enga Attahaasam Arambam and Ka Ka Ga Po, a comedy show already launched in August, the plan of action is to ramp it up with six hours of original content within three months with 360-degree promotional activities also in place. While the initial efforts are directed towards the primetime, the focus will also be on the afternoon and weekend time-bands. With more show launches lined up, including a talk show and game show, RV Palani, GMSales & Marketing, Raj Television Network says, “We have a 360-degree marketing campaign to promote our shows and will be launching and extensive campaign across the State for our new shows.”
Banking on Digitization
For a State that boasts of nearly 100% TV penetration, with 6.6 million cable connections, digitization has been a really slow process. That’s because the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) did not give the Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation a permanent digital licence necessary for an MSO. However, with Arasu formally launching its digital system on September 1 2017, and the seeding of set top boxes (STBs) now under way, Regunathan believes that though it could take a year for the STBs to be seeded, this will eventually lead to an increase in revenue generation from the ground.
The Advertiser Play
Looking at numbers, the size of the Tamil satellite market was estimated at approximately Rs 1,600-1,900 crore in 2016 as
per the Pitch Madison Advertising Report 2017; this is equal to about 10% of the entire advertising monies spent on Television. Tamil Nadu is also a market with a high retail presence and Raj TV prides itself in being at the forefront in building the retail advertiser base and helping them make the shift from Print to TV over the last 20 years. Though the skew is 60:40 in favour of MNCs, Regunathan says, “The 40% contribution of retail advertisers is equal to 70%, because of the ER or Effective Rate. The ad rates for local advertisers are higher and at a premium.”
Also on priority is reducing the ad clutter and enhancing the viewer experience, but on the back of higher rates. Looking ahead, exploitation of its IPR is an area that Regunathan believes could be a potential revenue generator and he adds that plans are afoot to launch an OTT by December. When asked on the monetizing challenge on the Digital space, he says that while the regular content will be free, the premium content will be behind a firewall.
Channels: Raj TV, Raj Music Tamil, Raj Digital Plus, Raj Music Kannada & Raj News Kannada, Raj Music Telugu & Raj News Telugu, Vissa-Telugu, Raj Pariwar-Hindi, Raj Music Malayalam & Raj News Malayalam, Raj Movies Tamil, Raj Nagaichuvai & Raj Kids (in the pipeline)
New Shows: Ooru vambu – Weekend current affairs show Ka Ka Ga Po – Weekday Comedy Show
Enga Attahaasam Arambam - Primetime fiction show