With good response to English cluster, Viacom18 looks at local productions

Bindu D Menon Mumbai | Updated on January 18, 2018 Published on July 31, 2016


With its English cluster showing promising growth among viewers and advertisers alike, Viacom18 said it is keen to put its might behind local productions to woo advertisers and also create co-branding opportunities.

“For six years, we had only one channel Vh1. In 2012, we introduced Comedy Central and last year we introduced our English GEC (General Entertainment Channel) Colors Infinity. There has been significant growth both in our viewership base and advertisers,” Ferzad Palia, EVP and Head, Youth and English Entertainment, Viacom18, told BusinessLine.

 He said the company had added over 100 plus advertisers in a year’s time.

Local content

“More viewers are opting for English content. Additionally, increase in digitisation, DTH penetration and local production is also increasing our viewer base,” he added.

Speaking on its content strategy, Palia said besides acquiring international content, the company is also strengthening its local productions. Colors Infinity had started with first locally produced IP ‘The Stage’ — a singing reality show developed and conceptualised in India.

Palia said that Colors Infinity is looking at a second season for the Western musical show.

“Local shows are important. It is tough to talk about our pipeline of locally produced shows. We are looking at across genres for new properties. We have done well in the monetisation of our shows. There is lot you can do for advertisers in terms of integration and customisation in local shows versus the internationally acquired shows,” he added.

Stating that advertisers see value in the company creating local content, Palia said that these shows could have branded content.

“Advertisers have been happy to pay us a premium. We came in quite late in the genre so disruption and differentiated content was the need of the hour. The brands can be integrated and incorporated heavily in local productions. We are looking at local content for all our channels,” he added.

The company claimed that its English entertainment cluster accounts for about 53 per cent share in the English genre. Viacom18 broadcasts English channels like Colors Infinity, Comedy Central and Vh1.

It has a line of shows like Orange is the New Black, Fargo, Better Call Saul and includes Mr. Robot.

Viewership pattern

Palia said at least sixty per cent of viewership for the channel is coming from beyond the top metros.Viacom18 competes with players like AXN, Star World, Zee Cafe and HBO HD among others.

English entertainment currently accounts for less than one per cent of the total GEC pie which is estimated at ₹54,300 crore.

Palia said that strategic initiatives such as instant premieres, live binges, back to back episodes and Infinity on demand had brought in new viewers into the channels folds.

“Most people do about four to five instant premieres but we have done upward of 50 premieres,” he added.

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Published on July 31, 2016
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