Times Network: An identity of sameness, M K Anand

“This will ensure that everyone in the network will have the same corporate identity.” M K Anand.

It’s probably been over a year that M K Anand took over as MD & CEO of the Times Television Network, now Times Network, and ever since then he and his core team has been silently working on bringing a better product for the viewer.

The network which recently revamped their logo from Times Television Network to Times Network with a tagline ‘Now or Nothing’ which has been the point of discussion amongst the ‘advertising fraternity’ for the three days at Goafest. Times Network very strategically made an announcement of their new logo at Goafest 2015 and it was indeed a great move to do so.

In order to know more about the plans of the network in time to come, we at Adgully.com caught up with M K Anand, MD & CEO of Times Network. Excerpts of the conversation are as below.

Adgully (AG): What was the need to change the logo?
M K Anand (MK):
Over the last eleven years at different points in time we came up with different channels. Starting with zoOm, being our entertainment channel, then Times Now and ET Now in the news genre and then Movies Now and Romedy Now in the English Entertainment genre. While all other network channels, except zoOm have ‘Now’ as a suffix in them, there was somewhere a need to change the whole identity of the network.

Pointing out to his old visiting card, M K Anand said that this (the card) was the need to change the logo. We as a network of channels have had a different identity all this time be it Times Now, ET Now, zoOm, Movies Now or Romedy Now.

The revamp is to ensure that the strong branches have strengthened trunks. Moreover, we don't want to restrict ourselves as a television network only. Hence we decided to break a few boundaries and expand. We felt that there was an additional word and so we decided to get rid of it. When we say network it is understood that it is a television network. Hence, we are now Times Network, ‘Now or Nothing’.

Our new logo is a pyramid, which signifies the population of the country and the red tip on the top is our target audience. This will ensure that everyone in the network will have the same corporate identity. All the brands should complement and respect each other in the network. ‘Now or Nothing’ is a credo that we have been following since inception. It’s just that we made it a network motto.

Also the change of the network’s logo won't leave an impact on the channel’s creatives. The consumers here are trade, advertisers, DTH companies and MSOs and not the viewers. The most important consumer of this revamp is our 1000+ employees, who now know that they are no longer an employee of a particular channel, team or floor but a member of the entire network.

AG: Will there be any change in the content strategy?
Since the team has reworked on the content strategy, hence we felt that there was need to rework on the communication. There have been substantial efforts that have gone in working on the content strategy for all five network channels over the last six months and hence we felt there was a need to bring in a new identity, an identity of sameness amongst the network channels. We didn’t want anyone to feel superior to the other.

AG: Are there any plans of revamping zoOm?
zoOm has had its share of ups and downs. We are planning to revamp zoOm, and in time to come you will hear about the same. We are working on the make over and by end of May or June, we will be re-launching.

AG: Share your plans on marketing and beefing up your distribution.
Our first step to marketing was to communicate to the media fraternity and Goafest was a natural choice. Our distribution has always been robust and it will continue to grow. I am very satisfied with the efforts put in by the team. It will only be incremental now on.

AG: What is your digital strategy?
Times Network would soon be launching the Times Now App, which will have both broadcast content and fresh content. This is a serious attempt from our end to establish ourselves on the digital platform. In three months’ time, we are planning to launch the app with an aim to be a leader in that domain too.

How much ever we might want to adopt a subscription model for our digital platforms, it is currently not possible due to technical deficiencies and consumer behaviour in the economy. Hence we will follow the advertising revenue model.

AG: What is your vision for the group in the next two years, what position do you see the group occupying in the next two years?
We are a bouquet of leading channels aimed at the top end of the market. We believe our content is best in class and we will do everything to keep it that way. We expect our distribution to be vastly better with more penetration into rural markets. We believe English news and entertainment consumption to grow substantially. We expect to have well-articulated and sharply positioned brands leading our business. In all, in 2 years we would have a very strong and impactful cluster of channels, a few IPs beyond the channels, a vibrant digital extension and a profitable business.

AG: Would you want to promote young professionals in your organization instead of Arnab as the face of the channel?
Arnab has been the face of the channel so far and we do not intend to change it as of now. But like Arnab mentioned in his session that young professionals come up to him and ask him if they can take up true stories and he agrees to them. In a way he is grooming the young professionals in the organization to pick the journalism of opinion and that is a good sign of growth both for the organization and the country.

AG:How long were you working on the logo?
It took us close to two and a half months to come up with this new logo.

AG: Which agency has worked on the logo?
The creative for the network logo was worked by Thomas Xavier who runs an agency called Transformers in Bangalore.

AG: Your thoughts on BARC.
The statistics won't have much of an impact, nor will it turn out to be a game changer. Instead of one, now the other will conduct the survey. Having said that, I was initially concerned about structural changes and new figures that would be rolled out by BARC. However, it has now been cleared that the structure will be the same but the sample size has definitely increased. I don't think we will see a ‘ratings dark’ period. Not receiving ratings for a week or two is not likely to leave too much of an impact.

Adgully spoke to few industry stalwarts to know their views on the network’ decision.

Sam Balsara, Chairman and Managing Director Madison said, “I think it’s a good idea, the logo looks really good and I wish them all the best. They are already doing quite well so all the best for doing even better.”

Giving a creative outlook, Satbir Singh, CCO, Draft FCB Ulka said, “The new logo is more modern looking. I quite like the use of white. It’s more future facing and it’s not boxed in. You can do a lot more with this; the earlier one was boxed in so this is more open. And I wish them all the very best with their new logo.” By Archit Ambekar | Twitter: @aambarchit


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