Madhumita Chhattopadhyay, CEO of new Bengali entertainment channel from the ABP Group, says the channel will be differentiated by its visual impact and content.
The Kolkata-based ABP group – publishers of The Telegraph, Businessworld and Ananda Bazar Patrika - has just entered the television space with the launch of Sananda TV, a GEC that shares the name of the group’s popular women’s magazine, Sananda. The channel will no doubt cash in on the magazine’s brand connect.
Its biggest competitor in the crowded Bengali GEC domain will be Star India’s Star Jalsha (market share 42%, Source: TAM Media Research), along with Zee Bangla (market share 31%), ETV Bangla, Mahuaa Bangla and Rupashi Bangla. The size of the Bengali television advertising market is about Rs 600 crore.
IMPACT spoke to Madhumita Chattopadhyay, CEO, ABP Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, who is also advisor, Bengali magazines, for the group and editor of the magazine Sananda. Here are excerpts from the conversation:
What is the USP of Sananda TV? How will you differentiate content from existing players like Star Jalsha, Zee Bangla, etv Bangla, etc, to gain market share?
The differentiation is in the context of visual impact and programmes. We are shooting with HD cameras and viewers will see programmes in a 16X9 format, which will be a major change. One of our serials is a socio-political thriller designed to give viewers the feel of a feature film in all aspects, which is a first. All our serials touch upon social issues, though very subtly, without undermining the need for full blown entertainment. While the basic sentiments and emotions portrayed cannot be much different from what is being shown on other channels, the rendition is different.
What will be your branding strategy? Will it be like Sananda magazine, mainly targeted at the upwardly mobile female audience?
No, the objective is to reach out to all 20+ women. While Sananda magazine is essentially about empowerment, Sananda TV has much greater stress on entertainment. The basic mission of the Sananda brand will be “from entertainment to empowerment”. As with all GECs, the core target is women. But a woman is happy when her entire family is happy. We have kept that in mind and are trying to provide programmes that the entire family can enjoy.
You call the channel ‘aspirational’ both in lifestyle and a shift in value-system. Can you elaborate on this?
To the women in Bengal, the Sananda brand has always been aspirational. So, viewers are bound to expect the same from the channel. By ‘being aspirational in the context of lifestyle’, we mean the viewers will experience sets, dresses, styling, etc., that encourage aspirations for a better lifestyle.
Your slogan is ‘positive programming’. But tear-jerkers seem to be the mainstay of most Bengali TV channels...
By positive programming, we mean that though we touch upon social issues subtly, we will not be ‘regressive’ in our approach. There will be death, sorrow, tears… but there will be a way ahead, there will be hope and happiness.
For a whole lot of women who have grown up with Sananda since the days of Aparna Sen in the mid-80s, will the channel mean a loyalty shift to TV? Will the print edition suffer?
No, the magazine and the channel fulfil two different needs. While the magazine empowers (through the utilitarian content), the TV will entertain.