Ciao '14 | Content Creation should resonate, entertain and innovate

Over the years, regional channels have been gaining a lot of popularity. Although Hindi remains to be the dominant one, the regional ones are also faring well in their respective states.

Foraying into creating good content these channels are the most demanded ones in native states. One recent example being a Marathi show being replicated into a Hindi show because it had good content and was popular among the Marathi audiences.

Seeing the success of the regional channels, Adgully caught up with Anuj Poddar, Executive Vice President Viacom18 and Project Head – ETV Marathi and Gujarati.

Key milestones:

In the Marathi genre the good news is that we have become the number two player and we have done that consistently for many weeks. So we are now leading the agenda of giving new stuff or have the most diverse shows in Marathi GEC. It starts from Marathi Crorepati that we did or Zhunj Marathmoli that we did earlier in the year or even the kind of innovations we have in fiction, the kind of stories or the subjects that we are covering. We have done an event called IMFFA which was Marathi film awards held on a cruise in Hong Kong.

So everything that we are doing whether its fiction or non-fiction, events I think we have now established ourselves as the innovators. The major thing is setting benchmarks and giving diverse content to our viewers and that’s coming out very strongly in the consumer qualitative research that we are doing.

For Gujarati the biggest milestone is the launch of ETV Gujarati itself which was launched on 3rd November, 2014. It’s the first ever Gujarati GEC. So far every channel that claimed to be a Gujarati channel was a hybrid between news, entertainment and a little more focus on news. It’s the first time we have a full-fledged entertainment channel and with good quality contemporary programming. That’s the big milestone and 2015 will see the results of that.

Growth so far:

The growth has been very good in Marathi particularly. The ad growth has been tremendous. Not just that but all the 3 GEC’s have been more than 100% full on inventory. Therefore the growth rate for us particularly has been good. We have had more than 40% growth on ad revenues for us. That’s the function of both turnarounds in the ETV perception as well as overall inventory supply demand situation in the market.

In Gujarati we have grown from our installed ratings but I think it’s too early for me to gloat on that. That growth will come next year but having said that we have nearly 50 to 60% growth of time spent on our Gujarati channel after we have launched new content.


Gujarati I would say I don’t have competition or I would say that our competition is only us. Having said that as long as I am trying to create content that resonates with Gujarati’s and our tagline is ‘Dil Thi Gujarati’ which means the true Gujarati by heart. We are trying to create a space of our own.

In the case of Marathi my view is I don’t like react to competition rather just pursue our own course and our course is like I said our tagline of creating good content which is content that resonates, entertains and innovates. We have individual shows that tick off these objectives. In nonfiction our biggest innovation was Crorepati in Marathi. In fiction too shows like are Kamla a big innovation.


Once we create a market, creating good fiction in Gujarati genre is our primary objective. While we have got six new shows that are launched and are trending well. We have remade a Marathi show ‘Satrashe Saat Saasu Bai’ in Gujarati as ‘1760 Saasu Maa.’ That show has created a lot of buzz, everybody is talking about it, everybody has watched and sampled it. So we are very much happy to do it and it’s also the way our channel is positioned right now which is entertainment, which pretty much mirrors the Gujarati society.

Shows worked well:

For ETV Gujarati there is a show called Kanho Banyo common man, Sasu bai is an out an out sitcom. There is a show Pati Gayo Pati Thayo which is a louder comedy. Each of these shows is different in their positioning but very Gujarati centric at the same time. It’s something they don’t find on national TV.

On the Marathi side- we have been very conscious like on the Crorepati front is a lot more PR but fiction is something that drives the channel and we now 3 shows from 7.30, 8 and 8.30 pm. And all three shows are doing well for us. They are very stable. That’s Tu Majha Sangati, Majhe Mann Tujhe Zhale, Asava Sundar Swapnacha Bangla.

Response to your Bouquet of channels:

The audience is now looking at us differently, people who used to watch it are now watching it more, people who didn’t use to watch it have started sampling and watching it so both set of people are looking at it well. Secondly that’s showing in the case of Marathi like a said that the growth of 40% is because of the change in the ETV’s fortune.

In Gujarati we have had a good start and 2015 will be a year which will prove that there is a creative space in the market for Gujarati entertainment. Therefore for me Gujarati is a bigger challenge or a point to prove because that’s where we have been pioneers. It’s never been done before.

Digital presence:

On Digital base we are very strong. We have been the fastest growing Marathi player on Facebook and we come from a low base. Traditionally ETV was not a digitally focused brand and now we have overtaken number two by far. We are double of Star Pravah on Facebook and a little behind Zee on that and we continue to grow and it’s a big focus area for us. What we have done is some fair amount of stuff on Twitter but I have figured that the Marathi audience is not that strongly active on twitter so that’s taken a slight backseat for us.

On Facebook we are doing a lot of stuff and besides that, YouTube is very popular and all our content is there. We got our content on other platforms as well. So digital is a very important content for us something that we are very active on. But also what does for us is that digital is the head of the curve. We start seeing trends on digital that later few months down the line we start seeing it on television.

Trends in Regional space:

In general I believe there is a lot more clutter in television today. And we have regional fighting with non-regional, sports and everybody else. With a lot more clutter there is a lot more noise around in general for audiences and that’s too much distraction. Therefore I think emphasis on good content needs to be even higher and ultimately it is good content that will help you stand out and not the noise. And therefore even internally our focus on content is that much more.​ By Archit Ambekar | Twitter: @aambarchit


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