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.

M Re­gu­nathan

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

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