In an environment where GECs change the scripts of their shows within hours and Sony Entertainment Television put up a fiction show a month in advanceto maintain viewership, upcoming channel Discovery Jeet is working on a 35-episode bank.
Discovery Network has already commissioned 1,000 hours of content for the first year and is currently working on commissioning and developing content for early 2019. Why such a hurry? Especially at a time when the script of a certain episode on a GEC can be changed on the morning of the telecast.
“We have to pre-plan since uplinking happens from Singapore. I see it as both a constraint and an opportunity. Constraint since it forces us to plan ahead; right now we are commissioning and developing content for early 2019 content. We are planning in advance because our cycles are such. Discovery never does a GEC with a daily soap kind of programming,” said Karan Bajaj, Senior Vice-President and General Manager, South Asia, Discovery Communications India.
Speaking on the opportunity,Bajaj said, “Discovery trains us to think long term. There is no script where someone walks in in the morning and demands a change in the script of the evening show. We have to be very meticulous about how we plan our characters and all. We have to keep a bank of about 35 episodes.”
This is a new experience for the producers too and Bajaj said that they are enjoying it since they have more time on ensuring the creative quotient of the content.
The channel, which will launch on February 12, will have about five hours of daily programming for weekdays and two hours on weekends.
On the inventory sales, Bajaj said, “We have outperformed our targets.”
Without divulging anything on the ad rates, he said that the channel will demand a premium since it is coming from the Discovery stable. The channel claims to have found many natural partners that helped achieve pre-launch inventory sales targets. The channel’s brand-led partnership approach has seen multiple brands from major conglomerates, including Reckitt Benckiser, Hindustan Unilever Limited, Marico, Mondelez International, Johnson and Johnson, Yellow Diamond and Quickheal, come on board even before the launch.
Mass marketing for the channel has also started recently with outdoor push in beyond top 10 cities. It includes on TV heavily. Print will be pushed on the day of launch. All the cross channel promotions are a part of the paid media plan.
“We have exceeded the target for the first quarter. With a new channel, we make sure that we don’t book fully so that there is enough time to do more programming so that consumers sample more of it, Bajaj added.
Detailing further about the TG, he added, “The content is something that is not a replica of what other channels are doing. We are viewing this as a creation of a category. It will have significantly more scale than any other Discovery channel.
Moving on to online, the channel said there has been unprecedented consumer engagement with content trailers of Discovery Jeet achieving completion rate of 65% on YouTube and 40% on Facebook. The trailers have cumulatively delivered more than 300 million impressions and more than 100 million views in just over two weeks on YouTube and Facebook. Just the two trailers of 21 Sarfarosh and Swami Ramdev Ek Sangharsh have crossed 50 million views on YouTube and Facebook. This week, the channel will release another 100+ pieces of digital content to further intensify its reach on digital and give consumers a glimpse of the range of content on offer.
Bajaj added, “We are enthused with the response that Discovery Jeet has been able to garner from the consumers, the advertising community and affiliate partners. We will dial up an aggressive marketing campaign even further as we get closer to the launch of the channel.”
Discovery Jeet is aiming to break the clutter in the Hindi GEC arena riding on purpose-driven entertainment content. With an aim to be India’s first national GEC, it will be available in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu languages.