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The Q India – Not your typical GEC programming

The Q India, a Hindi GEC that features the best of digital and influencer content, has been rapidly expanding in India. In the recent months, it has announced the appointment of a CEO and COO for India as well as Sales Head for West and South markets. When the channel entered India, its key focus was distribution partnerships with leading MSOs like Tata Sky and DD Free Dish as well as OTT platforms like MX Player, Jio TV, and Watcho. The channel entered the BARC universe to get rated, which will lend it credibility with advertisers. Currently, it is in the midst of a market dipstick to understand the pulse of young India and bring a greater focus to content and programming. Already it has launched a slew of innovative Q Originals like ‘Kya Bolta Insta’, featuring famous influencers in the digital space, and acquired influencer marketing company Chtrbox to strengthen its ties with Indian influencers.

In conversation with Adgully, Simran Hoon, Chief Executive Officer, The Q India, and Krishna Menon, Chief Operating Officer, The Q India, talk about the broadcaster’s content strategy, programming strategy and viewership.

How have you grown your reach with DD Free Dish?

Krishna Menon: We have one line of distribution on linear broadcast and multiple other distribution channels including OTT, UGC and Connected TV platforms.

WE are one of the few media companies present across platforms with live feed going into ZEE5, MX Player, and Chingari. That’s why our viewers have the opportunity of catching The Q content irrespective of the platform they are on. Put together, our entire viewership base across digital and television is about 650 million in terms of reach. Out of that, 100 million plus audience comes from the combination of DTH and MSOs put together.

Simran Hoon: Earlier we were only catering to the urban audience. Now with our partnership on DD Free Dish we are catering our content to the rural audience which has changed the entire paradigm of our viewership. Rural India has an affinity for our content which is working for us. We’re trying to strategize what genre of content would appeal to this particular audience but simultaneously not disturb our viewership on the urban side as well.

Given how the free-to-air space is being keenly watched, our arrival on DD Free Dish puts many things in our favour in terms of content and distribution. The brand is going to become bigger and you’ve got to watch out for us for the different stuff we’re going to be doing.

What’s happening on the content front?

Krishna Menon: Our core DNA is the best of social media. All the content published on our channel has been created by content creators who’ve been extremely successful on social media. One of our first originals is ‘Kya Bolta Insta’ and we’re creating more such content as we go along.

Simran Hoon: We have commissioned a dipstick on the market and a whole lot of research has happened on our viewers. Now, we‘re obviously catering to a lot of Free Dish audiences and our differentiated content is very different from soap operas seen on GECs. We have a lot of content that resonates with young India especially content from Tier II, III towns who are closely attuned to what resonates with audiences on social media. 

We’re working on concepts that will be different from what you’ve seen on a typical GEC.  It is still early before we are ready to make an announcement.

What’s your programming strategy?

Simran Hoon: Being a youth GEC we’re looking at several genres of content that is fresh, meaningful and different. Different time bands attract different audiences and the content on the channel attracts those audiences. We’ve got Cookery Shows in the afternoon time band hosted by famous social media influencers and adult animation content that is unique for a GEC. We are reaching out to an audience who want a respite from what they’ve seen on typical GECs and we are constantly searching for ways to entertain them with variety.

Krishna Menon: We are trying to understand the pulse of young India and cater to their needs. When you watch The Q channel, you’ll find multiple genres of content from gag comedy, travel, adult animation, food, and talk shows on different time bands. Overall we are preserving the general entertainment flavor which is entertainment for everyone. We work with top creators like Pocket Aces and Arre and we’ve tested our content to see what works and what doesn’t.

What’s the profile of viewers watching your channel?

Simran Hoon: Many general entertainment channels that exist right now cater only to women but we are looking at the young family. That’s why we don’t really fall into any other block whether it is youth channel or soap opera GEC. We have a variety of content that caters to all audiences although we have to profile ourselves according to segmentation that advertisers look at.

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