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Romedy Now looking to bring back ‘Friends’ with marketing push

MUMBAI: Times Television Network’s (TTN) hybrid English entertainment channel Romedy Now has brought back the sitcom ‘Friends’ and is airing all 10 seasons back to back from Monday–Thursday at 8 pm.

The channel has also launched a campaign that gives a winner the chance to visit New York with a friend and have coffee at Central Park.

Speaking to TelevisionPost.com, TTN English entertainment channels cluster head of marketing Shantanu Gangane said that rather than having a brand campaign, the push is on a voting campaign.

“People can vote on their favourite ‘Friends’ characters. Our aim was to make the campaign a two-way effort. For an old show, the challenge is to bring back loyal viewers. So you focus on the esteem of the show and the knowledge aspect through things like trivia. At the same time, the aim of the campaign is to make ‘Friends’ relevant and contemporary in today’s day and age. This is because younger viewers may not have seen much of the show. That is why we are making a big push on social media. On Twitter, we have a hashtag TGIF which stands for Thank God It’s Friends. On Instagram, we have an initiative where people can post selfies taken with their friends.

“With a new show you focus on the differentiation of the show as well as on its relatability. A new show has the advantage of there being hype around the premiere just like a movie,” added Gangane.”

Romedy Now also created vignettes which saw celebrities talking about their friends and aired on Times Now. “We are looking to do more such initiatives and leverage the Times network.”

Times Television Network English entertainment channels, cluster head of content Mansi Shrivastav said that comedy has more repeat value. “Humour is something that viewers can lap up again and again. Drama, on the other hand, relies on plot and suspense. Once that is known, the novelty value goes. We have output deals with Fox and Warner. With Fox, we have first rights to some shows while other shows go to Star. For Warner, we have rights to library shows like ‘2 Broke Girls’.”

She added that both the studios have lots of comedies at play. “Fox and Warner have a strong slate. Most of our content will come from there. ‘Dharma and Greg’ is another show that we will bring back. We are confident of ‘Friends’ doing well because it has never aired on a platform like ours which is about love and laughter.”

Talking about the nature of American television, she said, “American shows have universal appeal which is why they run across countries. In future, we might do some amount of local content. However, we haven’t frozen anything as of now. It could take the form of short formats, but the quality has to be on a par with our international content.”

She adds that only 10 per cent of movie content airs on both Romedy Now and Movies Now. For instance, ‘The Hangover’ would also air on Movies Now. “Most of the film libraries of the two channels are exclusive to them. That is because the positioning of the two channels is completely different.”