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Why Big CBS is in its Prime

Tarun Katial, CEO of Reliance Broadcast Network, talks to BestMediaInfo about the successful journey of Big CBS Prime, what has worked in the channel’s favour, and the marketing strategy

Ananya Saha | Delhi | July 12, 2012

Big CBS Prime has been on-air from November 29, 2010. The English entertainment channel from the stable of Big CBS Networks is a joint venture between Reliance Broadcast Network Limited (RBNL) and CBS Studios International. Big CBS Prime has spiced up the English content space where channels such as Zee Studio, Star World and Zee Cafe have already made their mark. The channel aims at providing fresh international programming concurrently with the US market.

The JV has launched three English language entertainment channels, marking the Reliance Group’s entry into the television broadcasting space and CBS Corporation’s entry into India. The two other themed channels targeted at India's fast-growing, upwardly mobile population include Big CBS Spark, an international youth entertainment channel, and Big CBS Love, aimed at urban, upmarket Indian female viewers. In January 2012, the JV announced its foray in regional television space with Spark Punjabi.

Tarun Katial, CEO, RBNL, told BestMediaInfo.com, “Big CBS Prime’s offering is created keeping in mind the viewing preferences of the urban Indian male audiences. Our research indicates that our core TG – urban upmarket male – prefers genres such as crime, reality and edgy content. Hence, the focus of the channel is to build on these three genres on a consistent basis.”

And the channel is effectively working towards this aim. From shows like ‘NCIS’ starring Mark Harmon to the recently launched crime series ‘Dexter’ to crime special show ‘CSI’ to one of the world’s top reality show brands, ‘Survivor’, to the show that will launch this Friday, the 13th of July, ‘13: Fear is Real’ (which will expose audiences to a paranormal reality show), the shows are hand-picked to ensure they meet the entertainment preferences of its TG.

“One of the biggest differentiators for a channel is its content, and for us, our JV partner CBS Studios allows us access to a world class library of some of the biggest and best global hits. We also understand our audiences’ penchant for their mean machines and hence feature shows like ‘Big Wheels’, showcasing the latest in the automobile industry in India and abroad, and ‘Aspire’, a magazine format show featuring cars, gadgets, watches, movies, music, people, trends and everything that shapes the lives of our audiences,” Katial elucidated.

Katial was quick to add, “To ensure the best local connect, we also host local home grown shows. ‘India’s Sexiest Bachelor’ will soon be back with its second season after the first very successful season hosted last year.”

The channel is also banking on its property ‘India’s Prime Icons’, which will launch shortly featuring the biggest male icons of the country. The channel is confident of grabbing huge eyeballs from this show.

Summarising the journey of Big CBS Prime so far, Katial said, “The journey so far has been excellent. The channel is still young but has a very loyal relevant audience base. It is our endeavour to offer the latest, freshest, hottest content and that is something that makes us stand apart and get audiences hooked to the channel and its shows.”

While the strategy of the channel has not changed, it has definitely evolved and sharpened over time, as it has acquired an understanding of what the audiences really want and “we strive to provide them with that”, said Katial.

The channel also got a new look this year in early June this year.

To keep the upmarket audience engaged, and informed, the channels are promoted through high-decibel, multi-media marketing campaigns covering ATL, BTL and heavy use of social media. The channels also benefit from the excellent media platforms available within the company.

Explaining the marketing strategy, Katial said, “We have a carefully crafted channel bouquet across which the channels are promoted. We also make use of radio very effectively as a medium. Our radio brand 92.7 Big FM works effectively as a tool. Additionally, we use outdoor efficiently through gantries, hoardings, Crossword façade branding, multiplex partnerships, magazine tie-ups, alliances with coffee chains, live media screens and more.”

Katial added that on the social media front, “we undertake extensive Facebook promotions and customised applications, Twitter contests and a host of high engagement initiatives.” The channel also engages in comprehensive customer marketing initiatives ranging from agency activations, email communiqué, engagement and experiential exercises.

Even as the channel aims at acquiring more titles from across the globe, Katial said that he was happy with the way programmes are being received by audiences. “Criminal drama shows like the CSI and NCIS series have been much appreciated. The recently launched Dexter also promises to give them the adrenaline rush they get out of watching crime dramas. In the reality genre, we have shows like Survivor that have done very well. We look forward to 13: Fear is Real being exceedingly well accepted given its format of amalgamation of reality with paranormal. In late night edgy shows we have the famous Jerry Springer Show that has worked excellently.”

“Going forward, our focus will be on the digital audiences, key content genres, and big ticket programming brands as well as focused marketing among the urban upmarket audiences,” Katial said.

Ananya@BestMediaInfo.com

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