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General News Viacom18 to launch Colors Gujarati Cinema on 1 June
MUMBAI: Gujarat is a market where there is a lot of whitespace for growing the consumption of local content. Currently, Hindi GEC and movie channels dominate the market in terms of content consumption. Sensing the opportunity in the market, Viacom18 is launching a Gujarati movie channel Colors Gujarati Cinema on 1st June.

The channel will have a library of over 300 titles and will have eight premieres over eight days at 8 pm during the launch week. Priced at Rs. 1, the channel is a part of the Colors Wala Value+ Pack.

Its library covers current popular blockbusters, classic titles and Gujarati stage theatre. The tagline of the channel is ‘Filmo Matrubhasha Ma’ which aims to encourage viewers to consume movies in their mother tongue. The message is that till now people in the state have been consuming movies in other languages. Now there is an opportunity for them to watch movies in their language.

The channel has been running a test feed over the past three to four months to ensure that distribution was in place. Some movie premieres will also have a simulcast on Colors Gujarati. For now, there will not be any dubbed content.

Commenting on the launch, Viacom18 group CEO, MD Sudhanshu Vats said, “Four years ago we consolidated and rebranded our play in regional TV broadcast under the Colors umbrella. Since then not only have we added seven more channels but also entered new markets through our broadcast, digital and film businesses. Over the last two years, our regional cluster has grown at a CAGR of 36.5% in viewership and 22% in revenue. Gujarat represents a unique opportunity for us as we can leverage our regional GEC Colors Gujarati’s strong 43% market share position and capture current whitespace in the market- movie broadcast.”

Viacom18 head regional TV network Ravish Kumar said that the overall TV ad pie is at Rs. 100 crore. Categories including retail, FMCG and consumer durables have a strong presence. Colors Gujarati Cinema will have Wagh Bakri Chai, Adani’s Fortune Oil and B-Tex as the co-powered by launch partners.

Kumar said that the aim is to have the regional cluster account for half of Viacom18’s revenues. He noted that the regional cluster has been enjoying annual revenue growth of over 30. He pointed out that the broadcaster’s journey in Gujarat began 18 years ago with ETV Gujarati which then evolved into Colors Gujarati.

“The Gujarati language has clocked the highest growth amongst all language TV viewership with an astounding 36% year-on-year growth. Movies as a TV genre enjoy 25% viewership in Gujarat a state with an 87-year-old legacy of producing films and plays. With the absence of a premium television channel showcasing Gujarat movies it was the perfect whitespace for us to capture,” he stated.

Kumar feels that Colors Gujarati Cinema has the big opportunity to drive viewership in the local language. “Not only does Colors Gujarati Cinema provide for a business case but also allows us to give the people of Gujarat a destination to enjoy movies in their mother tongue. With Colors Gujarati cinema we aim to respond to the regional market’s appetite for high-quality content while retaining its socio-cultural identity through a rich library of 300+ films and plays.”

He also contended that if the local print is big in Gujarat then why can’t local entertainment be big? “In fact, our team that operates the Gujarat business has relocated from Mumbai to Ahmedabad,” he stated.

Some of the movies in Colors Gujarati Cinema library include Viacom18 Studios’ ‘Dhh’ which won the National Award for the best feature film in Gujarati and recent hits like ‘Chello Divas’, ‘Love ni Bhavai’, ‘Reva’, ‘Mijaj’, ‘Duniyadari’, ‘Oxygen’, and ‘Backbencher’. It will air movies across genres like action, comedy, drama, romance, and mythology.

The aim Kumar noted is to promote Gujarati culture, heritage, and splendor and familiarise viewers with Gujarati stories and folklore. Plays will air on Saturdays in the 8 pm slot.

Kumar added that given its library strength managing repeats is not an issue in terms of the danger of viewer fatigue happening. He noted that a movie channel is also about innovative packaging and serving it up to the consumer in interesting ways. The aim of Viacom18 this fiscal is to consolidate its regional presence in the markets where it is present in.

He, however, stated that there are no plans to launch another regional movie channel this year as it takes a lot of time and effort to build a quality library.

To promote the channel, the broadcaster has prepared a 360-degree marketing strategy which includes the creation of a Rap anthem. There will be in-theatre marketing during Salman Khan’s upcoming release ‘Bharat’. An OOH campaign will cover 23 towns across Gujarat. Across local TV channels, 1000 spots will air. In creating the campaign research was done on who is a Gujarati, what defines him/her and then have the campaign be lighthearted.

Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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