The launch of Times Now Navbharat SD on January 1, 2022, will make the competition intense in the already cluttered Hindi news TV space.
Talking about the launch of the SD channel, MK Anand, MD and CEO, Times Network said that the HD channel has already been able to command the same price and almost 60% of the same ad inventory as the competition and the SD channel will be able to attract a huge reach among masses.
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Anand said that the upcoming elections in key states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab have provided the channel with a good opportunity to launch the SD version.
With the launch of the HD version of the channel earlier this year, Times Now Navbharat was able to capture high-income audiences.
Anand stated that the only news player existing in the HD space was Aaj Tak. Entering the HD space first has also made Times Now Navbharat the only other player to be present in the market.
“The upcoming assembly elections have given us a fantastic opportunity and a window to go for mass distribution. Good quality content is already in place. Distribution is key for a mass channel and that's something that we are pretty good at. With our HD channel, the brand is already resonating at the top,” he added.
Speaking about the advertisers’ response to Times Now Navbharat HD, Anand said the channel is already at 55-60% of ad volumes of Aaj Tak and their prices are at the same level as the competition.
Asked if the absence of TRP numbers at the time of launch would be a risky affair for the channel, he explained that only the new entrants in the space may face a challenge, and coming from a long legacy in the news business has helped us rope in more advertisers.
“Honestly, the absence of rating affects the broadcaster more than the planner. The broadcaster does not know how to design and who is ahead of me,” he said.
For Times Now Navbharat, the strategy has been to pull in anchor sponsors and sell the remaining 30-40% of the inventory. “If you try to push the sales team for high revenue, then there is no choice but to reduce ad rates. If you drop rates in the beginning, you destroy the brand, and the category, and your competitors. We are not going to do that; we have to get sponsors and we get a rate that is comparable to what we believe we are and our competitors are.”
“We are keeping our ad rates open. Revenue is not an immediate priority and our brand and financial goals for the year are already under control,” added Anand.