Thursday, October 16, 2008

FM-like TV channel with 'local' flavour

HYDERABAD --- After a slew of TV channels in the last few months, there is another to hit the air. . Before one wonders if it's another me-too channel, Swapna Dutt Chalasani MD of Local TV profers to clarify. "We are like an FM station on TV. Our model is unique in the sense that we will have channels in 23 districts, which will be further divided into 300 stations. Of the 24-hour programming, two hours will be dedicated to each district with local content."
While it will be entertainment focused with movies and realty and interactive shows, Local TV will also have four 30-minute news bulletins and four-minute news bulletins.

What's interesting is the advertising model. According to Swapna dutt, today ATL (Above The Line) advertising -- which includes print and electronic accounting for 90 per cent while the rest is by BTL (Below The Line) like events and promotions. "By airing local events and promotions, we plan to connect ATL and BTL and create a Through The Line (TTL), which will be our core business model," she quips.

Further, advertising will be highly local and accessible with more bang for the buck with a differential pricing model.

Four channels launched -- in Hyderabad, Vijayawada Visakhapatnam and Tirupati early this month followed by four-channels-per-week rollout. And the project cost? Rs 45 crore for starters and Induri is confident of breaking even in 24-30 months.

As reported earlier there is a rush to launch TV channels in the state and often with more than a profit agenda. Consider Local TV's promoters Vyjayanthi Televentures. It's promoted by well-known Telugu film producer Chalasani Aswini Dutt who produced several hits with hero-turned politician Chiranjeevi. His daughter Swapna Dutt Chalasani is the managing director and other prominent investors include Nimmagadda Prasad of VANPIC project. "There's nothing political for us. We have been toying with this idea for about six years. We are completely neutral and we are not a news channel but an entertainment channel," clarifies Dutt. But one big investor quipped when asked the reason for his investment: "To buy peace." The timing too is interesting as the state is scheduled to go for elections early next year.
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