Colors Tamil goes on air today; We don’t have GRP projections, says Ravish Kumar

Colors Tamil, the latest regional GEC from Viacom18 is all set to go live from today, February 19, 2018. At launch, Colors Tamil will be available in all leading cable networks catering to an estimated 11 million homes in rest of Tamil Nadu through Tamil Nadu Arasu Corporation, and 3.5 million homes in Greater Chennai through SCV, TCCL, among others. Furthermore, the channel will be available on all DTH platforms – Sun Direct, Tata Sky, Airtel, DishTV and Videocon D2h – reaching out to ~5.5 million households. 

Viacom18 already operates general entertainment channels in 5 regional languages under the brand name Colors – Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali and Odia, apart from Hindi and English. 

Launching with a well curated list of programmes, Colors Tamil will offer several original shows in both the fiction and the non-fiction categories. As part of its fiction lineup, the channel has curated three striking shows that portray strong women protagonists breaking the shackles of the society – ‘Velunachi’, ‘Sivagami’, and ‘Perazhagi’. The entire content of Colors Tamil will also be available on Voot for the on-the-go viewer. 

Foraying into a market with existing predominant players, the channel aims at bringing together a range of shows spanning a diverse variety of entertainment genres catering to all demographics. 

Adgully spoke to Ravish Kumar, Head - Regional Entertainment, Viacom18, and Anup Chandrasekharan, Business Head, Colors Tamil, to know more about the channel’s plans to capture the Tamil broadcast market, the programming strategy, the competition, marketing plans and more. Excerpts: 

We have a responsibility towards our viewers: Ravish Kumar 

Ravish Kumar
Ravish Kumar
Sun has a monopoly in the Tamil market, how does Colors Tamil plan to make inroads with its differentiated programming?
We wanted to be true to the DNA of Colors, so it didn’t matter who was first in the market and who entered late. We at Colors believe in our programming that is different and has a larger meaning than just entertainment. We want to tap the tremendous potential that the Tamil Nadu entertainment industry has to offer – not just in terms of content, but in terms of advertisers as well. The tagline – “Iddhu Namma Oru Coloru… The Colors of our land” – encapsulates the vision of our channel. We have tried to rise above the regular kitchen dramas and family squabbles. We believe we have a responsibility towards our viewers. It’s not only about entertaining the viewers, but also catering to their aspirations. 

Colors Tamil will be known for its content as it is designed to be disruptive, differentiated, thought provoking and socially conscious, because our shows celebrate the inner strength of women as they tackle larger social evils. Our strong women protagonists will face issues head on and be a role model to the people, especially the women around them. 

We believe that Colors Tamil will change the way television content is made in the Indian market. The channel will present all its shows in cinematic quality, written by the best writers and shot by the best cinematographers in exotic, real locations all over the state. They will bring alive the richness in every show as they are shot in Alexa Cameras with 5.1 Dolby Sound. 

Tamil Nadu is a powerhouse of talent and we will nurture this talent by providing them opportunities to display their home grown ideas across a variety of platforms like Cinema, Digital and Television. 

Tamil Nadu is the second largest in terms of television viewership? What are your growth targets?
We do not have targets. Strange as it may sound, we don’t have GRP projections either. What I tell my team is to go out and make the best content possible; as long as it reflects their passion and couldn’t have done anything better, I am happy. Then it’s up to the viewer to decide. We are not in the game to garner huge TRPs, at least in the first 2 or 3 months we don’t need that. 

Apart from sectors like FMCG, Automobile, etc., Tamil Nadu also has a robust Rs 300 crore+ retail market. What is your strategy on the marketing front?
We are in the process of setting up a sales team. There has been a lot of interest from both local and national advertisers. We are closing a few deals ahead of the channel’s launch. But there is no hurry as our focus is to first get the programming right. We have put the interest of our viewers first and everything else is a derivative. 

On the distribution front who are your partners?
We are going to be on all the platforms, DTH/ Arasu/ SV and present throughout Tamil Nadu. Both HD and SD versions of Colors Tamil will be launched simultaneously. 

What are your marketing spends for the launch?
I won’t be able to divulge any figures, but suffice it to say that we are going all out on Print across Tamil Nadu. There are hoardings across the state, we are using bus shelters in Chennai. Also, there are cross TV paid promotions in all Tamil news channels. Promos across our channels would be a waste as we are a national player. 

The line-up of producers for Colors Tamil is different. What is the strategy behind it?
As a general rule of thumb we try to encourage upcoming talent and within that we look across the board, not so much at the background of the producer as the strength of the story and the content that they bring to the table. 

Over time, we might bring on board established producers, depending on the ideas they approach us with and the stories they want to do. So, it’s all about the content. 

You have already syndicated the hit show, ‘Naagin’, to Sun TV. What about ‘Bigg Boss’?
The ‘Naagin’ syndication happened a long time back. We would love to do a ‘Bigg Boss’; don’t forget we were the first ones to pioneer ‘Bigg Boss’ in the regional space – first in Kannada and then in Bangla, after which it was expanded to other markets. 

We are offering purpose-driven entertainment: Anup Chandrasekharan 

Anup Chandrasekharan
Anup Chandrasekharan
On foraying into the Tamil market…
We had established ourselves in the national arena as well as several regional markets, so it was the right time for us to enter the Tamil market. Cinema and TV are like two eyes in Tamil Nadu and it also has the highest cable penetration with 70-odd channels. Hence, we needed to be different. 

Don’t you think you are entering the market quite late in the day? What will your strategy be to capture a significant share of this market?
Tamil Nadu stands for its colourful thought process, which is in cognizance with the Colors franchise of Viacom18. As we enter this market, we want to make sure that we stand out from the other existing players. Colors Tamil is a promise of optimism, celebration and hope. We have conceptualised never-seen-before content in Tamil television history. 

You mentioned that you did a concentrated research across Tamil Nadu. What key findings did the research throw up?
We travelled across the length and breadth of Tamil Nadu to understand the preferences of the TV audience for more than a year and we understood that they were unhappy with the way women are being projected as a very weak force, instead they wanted them to be projected as the symbol of empowerment. Hence, the protagonists of all our shows will be bold and strong. With this approach, we are offering purpose-driven entertainment to the viewers of Colors Tamil, thus ensuring a social drive towards empowering women. 

You have selected producers from the field of Cinema, any special reasons for that?
We wanted to give our viewers a different feel, the content has been selected with care in keeping with our motto to not only entertain but also give a social message. The serials have been shot like films and outdoors to give a different feel. Our partners have done a wonderful job and the viewers will be thrilled to see a new progressive channel in Tamil Nadu. 

Could you tell us about the line-up of shows for Colors Tamil at launch?
We are launching with three and half hours of original programming. Colors Tamil has curated three striking shows that portray strong women protagonists breaking the shackles of the society – namely, ‘Velunachi’, ‘Sivagami’ and ‘Perazhagi’

Reality show Enge Veetu Maapilai’ will feature the hunt for an ideal match for brand ambassador and Kollywood superstar Arya. 

The weekend programming will be helmed by Super Kids’, which will honour young protégés of Tamil Nadu. There will be no different rounds, etc., just showcasing the talent of these children. On Sundays we will telecast ‘Maha Kali’. 

We will gradually increase our programming line-up and also look at acquiring films. 

How did you decide on Arya for the reality show Enge Veetu Maapilai’?
Why Arya? Because he is handsome, young, educated, a businessman and a superstar in Kollywood! We have received a huge response from women from diverse fields. Also, Arya is our brand ambassador. 

Spanning 40 episodes, the show will search for a perfect match for the superstar. 

Sun TV does not commission shows and the producer holds the IPR. What about Colors Tamil?
We have commissioned all our shows and the channel will hold all the intellectual property rights.

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