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Big Ganga’s multi-platform push in Hindi-speaking belt

The network has planned to launch four out of its 14 radio stations in Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Patna and Muzaffarpur

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | March 1, 2017

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Reliance Broadcast Network’s (RBNL) regional channel for Bihar-Jharkhand has a 360 degree format for most of its properties with an aim to garner maximum touchpoints. Along with the on-ground activations and television broadcast, the channel has also tapped on the radio and digital fronts in a huge way.

Simulcasting its heavy weight properties like the recent Birha Dangal on its radio platform Big FM, the channel is taking the television content penetration to a next level. On digital front, while YouTube was the basic touchpoint till now, the partnership with ZEEL will now allow the channel to float its content on OZee too.

In a similar attempt to tap the Bhojpuri-speaking market with larger impact, the network has planned to launch four out of its 14 radio stations in this region. While it has existing radio stations in Ranchi and Allahabad, the new cities to have Big FM stations include Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Patna and Muzaffarpur.

Tarun Katial Tarun Katial

Tarun Katial, CEO, RBNL said, “While looking at effectiveness, you see different data points, including YouTube, television, on-ground events and digital. When you see all this put together you know you have something right going on. We’re on digital most of the shows also simulcast on radio. We are building a big footprint of radio in that region with four more stations.”

The channel is attempting at bringing the audiences of each of these platforms to cross-sample the other media platforms and ultimately to drive as much viewership to Big Ganga as possible. “A lot of properties and content will be co-created and broadcast on these cross platforms.”

The network’s popular non-fiction property Big Memsaab was also an on-ground property initially and it has travelled to radio, on Big Ganga it ended the seventh season recently and the property is also on the Hindi GEC of the network Big Magic. “We have large on-ground component to almost all the properties.”

To extend this strategy further, the channel is planning to hold the finale of Birha Dangal at the Varanasi Ghat. The next non-fiction property on Big Ganga is Big Golden Voice.

All of this is getting converted to viewership. The channel garnered 30 million average Impressions (Week 1-7 of 2017), while the average time spent during this time was 27.49 minutes. The three most watched shows on the channel included Birha Muqabala, Bhakti Sagar and Maa Shakti. (The data was provided by the channel on the TG: CS 4+ Wk1-7’17).

Katial says how this growth came about. He said, “Nobody was doing any original content in the region; playing either music or movies. People didn’t have a GEC platform. We initially over-invested in content in the market and that has really paid us off in the long run. Big Ganga has been able to make huge connect as a brand with about 54 per cent market share and the next player is way behind at about half of this. So, the gap is only been widening.”

The network had launched the channel with an aim and Katial said that they have been able to fill in the need gap, which motivated them to launch the channel. “In the regions where Hindi is an overlapping language, Marathi, Bengali and Bhojpuri are very parochial in their region and content. While Marathi and Bengali had a very thriving TV businesses in the regions, Bhojpuri didn’t. That was the need gap we saw. We had a channel called Big Magic Bihar Jharkhand here and we eventually turned it to Big Ganga.”

The Hindi GECs do have a strong hand in this market and so how does Big Ganga plan to stand apart? The network believes that the strength of the channel is localising and that the Hindi channels cannot customise for the region beyond a point.

Is the viewership getting them revenues? Of course, said Katial. “Revenues are also growing handsomely. Other than the last few months of demonetisation, it has been a very good growth trajectory. If we compare the first half of the current fiscal to the previous one, there has been a 100 per cent increase. So, yes, it is a profitable channel.”

Even in terms of ad volumes, the channel claims that the increase has been tremendous in the last one and a half years. “The advertiser response, especially some of the FMCG companies, is good. The FMCGs used to get this region covered by HSM, but then they realised that this was one highly growing market. One of the highest GDP growth markets in India. This response might also be because we have added substantial additional reach to the market to the tune of almost 30-40 per cent on the back of distribution and content.”

He said rural ratings are a boon. “Rural rating is giving us more power, especially to stand up against print in that region. The kind of reach that Big Ganga provides to advertisers is far more than what print provides. We have seen a lot of print advertising moving onto television in this bargain because it is more effective/ efficient and deeper.”

The top advertisers on the channel include P&G Home Products, Hindustan Unilever, Colgate Palmolive India, Godrej Consumer Products, Bhartiya Janta Party, Emami, Parle Biscuits, Pidilite Industries, Ultra Tech Cement and Mondelez India Foods.

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