Shemaroo MarathiBana is a hardcore masala channel for the masses: Kranti Gada

Shemaroo Entertainment has ventured into the Marathi television space with the launch of their new Marathi movie channel – MarathiBana. The newly launched channel will showcase a wide array of Marathi movies along with famous Marathi plays, which is a rare offering from a TV channel for its viewers. Shemaroo has been a significant player in the Marathi movie industry with a prominent content library of Marathi films and plays. The company has also been producing and syndicating regional content for a few decades. Shemaroo’s content has been playing across various leading channels as part of their programming schedule. The channel will entirely focus on Marathi audiences across Maharashtra and Goa.

Shemaroo MarathiBana is already available on DD Free Dish along with various cable operators and soon to be available on all other leading DTH platforms and cable operators of Maharashtra and Goa.

Commenting on the launch of Shemaroo MarathiBana, Hiren Gada, CEO, Shemaroo Entertainment, said, “The launch of Shemaroo MarathiBana further expands Shemaroo’s presence in the Marathi speaking market, where we are bringing some of the rich content on our premium Marathi movie channel. We have been dominant players and have had a strong foothold in the media and entertainment industry for both viewers and advertisers. Taking the legacy forward, we will now be tapping on the humongous consumer base of the Marathi speaking audiences through this launch. We are sure to entertain the right set of audiences by providing them entertainment in the language they enjoy and prefer.”

In conversation with Adgully, Kranti Gada, Chief Operating Officer, Shemaroo Entertainment, outlines the strategy for Shemaroo MarathiBana, the content and distribution plans and more.

What would be your content strategy for Shemaroo MarathiBana?
Essentially, it’s a hardcore “masala” channel. The core programming will appeal to the masses. We will try to create specific slots to cater to specific audiences. For example, we’ll try to create a kids’ slot where we have our huge bank of animated film which we have already dubbed in Marathi. In fact, this will be the first time a kids’ content library of animated films will come to the Marathi audiences. Research done by us has revealed that kids are a really big stickiness driver. If they like something, it becomes a part of their routine. They know the slots of their favourite content and watch it as a routine. They will drive frequency, reach, and viewership and also help sampling stickiness in audiences that are coming back to us. We are also trying for a theatre slot using the bank of plays that we’ve shot. This will be something unique to the channel. In terms of the movies, we have many premieres lined up. We’ll be premiering movies that will be aired on TV for the first time. We want to become the platform that gives a chance to these films and becomes a platform for the industry.

What is your distribution strategy?
It’s a free channel and there’s no subscription. We are going to be present on all the distribution platforms and that’s the aim. We’re already present on DD Free Dish and in the next few weeks you’ll see us go on as many platforms as we can. So, the aim is to be as widely distributed with respect to Maharashtra.

Being a FTA channel, what would be your revenue strategy and brand associations?
We’ll generate our revenues through advertising. We’re in discussions with brands, but we don’t have any on board yet because we’re still not well distributed. I think it’s a little premature to do that. We’re also trying to break the perception that an FTA channel will be a sub-par quality channel. The entire mounting of the channel – including content, packaging, the logo, theme, marketing, along with the brand film – is being pitched at a very premium level. So, we’ll go to the advertisers at the right point.

ShemarooMe already exists in the Marathi content space. Will the platform be leveraged for Shemaroo MarathiBana?
Shemaroo MarathiBana is already live on ShemarooMe. The content will be available depending on rights, but as a live channel it will definitely be there.

There are some big broadcasters who are already present in the Marathi TV space. How do you plan to face the competition?
Having only Zee Talkies in the movie space is a clear opportunity. In terms of appetite of the industry, we feel it’s really potent. There is still a lot of appetite from advertisers to consume inventory and kick on advertising. Maharashtra is a growing market as it is one of the most industrialised states. The population and development index is very high. Rural Maharashtra doesn’t feel like it’s rural, because it is so well developed both in terms of education and women’s liberation and also consumables and durables. It is very progressive and hence, it’s a good place for marketing for brands. Hence, advertising is really good and we see there is enough space for us.

What’s your target market within Maharashtra going to be like?
The target will be both rural and urban markets. It is a pay and free platform distribution. Both sets of audiences are going to be important for us and will be our target.

Shemaroo has been in the content game for a very long time. Why did it take so long to launch a TV channel?
We were a part of the Sony venture since the ‘90s and exited about 6 years back. We were always a part of the industry and were one of the biggest suppliers of film content for the industry. I think we were looking for the right opportunity and time. As a company, we took an aggressive stand on digital very early on. We made a lot of strides in terms of content library, platforms and distribution. Our focus has always been digital. In a way, we went digital very aggressively and now we’re coming around. I think this completes the cycle.


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