Viacom18 plans to enter new regional markets, deepen presence in existing ones

MUMBAI: Regional market expansion remains an unfinished agenda for Viacom18 Media. The media conglomerate had recently filled one vital gap in its regional portfolio with the launch of Colors Tamil. The company is exploring new markets to expand its regional presence.

Viacom18 head regional entertainment Ravish Kumar said that the media network plans to enter new regional markets as well as deepen its presence in the existing regional market.

The company’s regional portfolio comprises Colors Bangla, Colors Odia, Colors Marathi, Colors Gujarati, Colors Kannada, Colors Super, and Colors Tamil.

The obvious white spaces include the remaining two Southern markets Telugu and Malayalam. The four Southern language markets along with Marathi and Bengali are among the largest regional markets in India. Outside of these six markets, there are smaller language markets like Odia, Punjabi, and Gujarati.

“Our journey has just begun and we are planning to add more markets to the list. Our strategy is to go wider and deeper into markets where we are not present. The markets where we are present we continue to think that what we can do next to make it strong. We are eyeing several markets right now. It is a question of what falls into place,” Kumar told on the sidelines of ‘Bigg Boss Marathi’ launch.

Viacom18, which has a dominant position in the Kannada market with Colors Kannada, has deepened its presence in the market with the launch of second GEC Colors Super.

Earlier, Kumar had told that the company plans to have a portfolio of channels in the Tamil market. The company sees movies, and kids as potential genres to be explored apart from a second GEC.

Talking about the content strategy for regional markets, Kumar said that the family is at the heart of its programming on regional GECs. “In regional languages, we always do our shows in prime time never late night because we want to treat it as a family show and we cast it like that. We want it to be a wholesome viewing.”

Viacom18, he said, is pushing the envelope in the Marathi market by launching ‘Bigg Boss Marathi’ in the 9.30 pm slot.

He also said that Colors Tamil has got off to a great start with 100 GVMs in the first month itself. It is also strengthening Colors Bangla and Colors Marathi considering both are significant ad markets. While it is a dominant player in the Kannada market it is the only player in the Gujarat market.

The company is gung-ho about ‘Bigg Boss Marathi’ show. This is the first time the show has been adapted for the Marathi market. ‘Bigg Boss’ and its various regional variants have been a huge success. While the show is not on the same scale as ‘Bigg Boss’ in Hindi, Kumar is hopeful that the content will generate curiosity among viewers.

Even as Marathi movies are doing well at the box office, Colors Marathi will continue to be driven by fiction and non-fiction content. The channel acquires movies occasionally if the price is right and the content is good.

“We not keen in movies because we choose to put our money in our shows – fiction and non-fiction property rather than in movies. Our strategy for movies is always opportunistic if we get great content and good price than we are very happy to take it,” Kumar averred.

He also ruled a Marathi movie channel in the immediate future.

Talking about content trends, he said that viewers appreciate content that is fresh, realistic and have a slice of life. This, he said, holds true for content across screens.

“A good content irrespective of platform and length works anywhere. We are seeing an appetite for good content and it is similar in movies as well. The appetite for good stories is immense,” he noted.

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