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Regional is the big area of expansion and focus for us: Ravish Kumar on Colors Tamil

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Regional is the big area of expansion and focus for us: Ravish Kumar on Colors Tamil

Viacom18 recently entered the Tamil market with Colors Tamil. And though some might say that they have been rather late in making their entry, Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO, Viacom18, had a rather interesting point to make as he said,  “We have not been first to the party but as I often say, the party begins when we enter." Vats said this as he introduced the youngest regional entertainment channel of the network, Colors Tamil to the media in Chennai.

India’s regional markets represent a strong growth opportunity and 46% of India’s TV viewership is contributed by regional channels. The new channel will start airing from February 19 and aims to target 20 million TV household in the state which is largely dominated by Sun Group.

Tamil market specifically is the largest regional market in the country. Reports indicate that advertising revenue potential of Tamil market is anything between Rs 1800-2000 crore despite the space being cluttered. Also, the biggest beauty of the Tamil market is its retail clients with the regional advertising revenue potential alone being Rs 260-300 crore. So, it's a big market in every sense and indeed one of the most lucrative broadcast entertainment markets in India.

“With our entry in the Tamil market, I am hoping that fundamentally there will be change in the way TV is moving forward. The kind of content we are putting up on the channel is different. We are putting cinematic experience to television for the first time. Alexa cameras, using Dolby5.1, we are shooting on the scale which has not been witnessed in this market yet. As you heard from the directors, we are shooting like a movie is shot. Though it's a nightmare to pull it off logistically we are proud of  being able to do that. We want to bring in the live nuances of dialects, language and customs, which makes us very rooted and Tamilian,” said Ravish Kumar, regional entertainment head, Viacom18.

After spreading its wings across five regional languages and with six channels, Viacom18 added the sixth language and seventh channel in its portfolio with the launch of Colors Tamil. Kumar added, “Regional is the big area of expansion and focus for us. We will continue to go wider and deeper. We will also look at the new markets and also the markets we are already in, like Kannada. We might launch another channel, so those options are constantly being evaluated and as we come closer to the launch, I will be happy to share more details.”

The new channel will offer a range of fiction and non-fiction programs spanning family, drama, reality TV, comedy and fantasy to name a few. Speaking of the research before the launch, Kumar added, “We went to more than 18 cities across the length and width of Tamil Nadu. Fundamentally we were trying to understand who the Tamilian viewer is and what she represents. They are very proud of their heritage and culture. Also it was about their viewing habits, what content they like and what are they looking for. That became the base and we started to build on that base.”

In most markets, the ad revenue and subscription revenue ratio is 70:30 or 60:40. Kumar believes that the Tamil market is going through a digitization phase and going forward the ratio will change significantly. Also the BARC all India data has uplift the rural and regional market which has also reflected on interest of advertisers and also on the ad rates. “Ad rates are always under pressure. Advertisers and agencies are not keen to pay more regardless of the numbers being in your favour. So have they started going up? Yes. But have they gone up dramatically after BARC data introduced in the panel after expanding, then the answer is no. But the process is going on and in our experience it will take time because you have deals in place and when they come for renewal is when you actually start to see an increase. It will happen gradually over a period of time,” he explained.

As part of its fiction lineup, Colors Tamil has curated three shows that portray strong women protagonists breaking the shackles of society. Shot in native locations of Tamil Nadu with top-notch equipment, the shows are set to offer a movie-like experience to the viewers.

At launch, Colors Tamil will be available in all leading cable networks catering to an estimated 11 mn homes through Tamil Nadu Arasu Corporation and 3.5 mn homes in Greater Chennai through SCV, TCCL among others. The channel will also be available on all DTH platforms - Sun Direct, Tata Sky, Airtel, DishTV & Videocon D2h - reaching out to 5.5mn households.

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