NDTV launches Prime as part of dual channel strategy

NEW DELHI: The New Delhi Television (NDTV) network welcomed another channel to its bouquet Monday, with the launch of NDTV Prime. The infotainment and entertainment hybrid channel is part of the network’s dual channel or split channel strategy and will replace its business news channel NDTV Profit from 6 pm onwards every weekday. Over the weekends, viewers will get to watch NDTV Prime 24×7.
NDTV Prime will follow the band strategy for programming with half an hour to one hour bands dedicated to a particular genre. This includes some of the existing programmes from NDTV Profit and a spate of fresh programming. Viewers will get to see shows around property, technology, automobiles, education in the infotainment bands while the entertainment band has a Bollywood talent show and a standup comedy show.
Prannoy Roy, Co-Chairperson, NDTV says, “We hope to expand our audience through this strategy. Business news channels have higher viewership during the market hours and entertainment channels have more viewership in the evenings. So we’ll be able to capture both these audiences with NDTV Profit and NDTV Prime.”
NDTV Prime will also bring back on air the popular prank show Cchupa Rustam where the unsuspecting public in subjected to a prank by the crew and the reactions caught on camera. It will have also Bollywood movies cut into half an hour parts and shown over the week in its Strip Movies band. The channel will air the headlines every hour as part of the content innovation. As of now, the weekends will show repeats of the fresh content aired during the week, but going forward, NDTV Prime will have new shows, one of them being a programe on advertising called All About Ads.
In the works for almost 2 years now, the new channel has been sponsored by Micromax and each band (barring the comedy and the movie band) has individual sponsors. As a result of the three year partnership with Micromax, the ‘m’ in the NDTV Prime logo is fashioned after the Micormax logo. Other sponsors on the channel include VLCC, LIC, Hyundai, Datsun, Mobil, Videocon d2h, MRF and Mercedes Benz.
Rahul Sharma, co-founder, Micromax said, “With digitization and advancement of technology, we are seeing a trend for greater consumption of high quality content among the viewers. NDTV Prime provides an ideal opportunity for Micromax to reach out to evolved viewers through new programming on lifestyle, reality, automobiles, sports, music, property, gadgets & gizmos and comedy, all of which are showing increasing acceptance among Indian viewers.”
As part of the revamp, NDTV Profit has entered a partnership with the National Stock Exchange and the new logo of the channel includes the line ‘Powered by NSE’. Under the partnership, members of the stock exchange will come on the channel and provide insight into the developments of the day as knowledge partners to the channel.
NDTV Profit, which has been around for nearly 8 years now, has been a point of worry for the company for the past 3 to 4 years. With increasing competition and clutter in the business news channel space, NDTV Profit lost market share and revenue. This translated to losses in the range of Rs 40 crore year on year for the company. But the network is hopeful that this strategy will help turn things around.
Vikram Chandra, CEO, NDTV says, “With almost all our shows sponsored before going on air, we are confident that the break even for the channel will be around a year. What was a problem area for us till now, could now actually become a money spinner.”
Chandra adds that while there they did have the option of shutting down NDTV Profit or selling it off, the management felt that the best way to go about it is try and turn it around using the dual channel strategy.
For the past one year, NDTV has taken steps to cut costs at NDTV Profit by moving the channel to Delhi (from Mumbai) and reducing the staff. The company expects the losses due to NDTV Profit to come down to Rs 19 crore for FY 14 as a result of the measures taken in the past one year.
The new channel is being endorsed by Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan who features in their television, outdoor and print campaign. The actor can be seen in two avatars – as the serious working individual in a dapper suit for NDTV Profit and tie and the easy going relaxed individual for NDTV Prime. The dual channel strategy is signified by the tagline “Work Hard. Play Hard.” The channel was launched by Bollywood actor and singer Priyanka Chopra.          —Agencies