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Can Television stations go “the Social Web” way? [Media Monday]

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Today, Reliance Broadcasting Network Limited launched a new Channel “BIG CBS Prime” in Partnership with CBS Studios International which is their first premium English general entertainment channel. The Channel promises to provide niche ‘International’ Television content within 24 hours of it’s getting broadcasted in US. This is a very good market for consumers looking for online version of shows like- NCIS, Survivor, Late Show with David Letterman, Blue Bloods, The Good Wife, Entertainment Tonight, The Insider and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

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After seeing this news I somehow feel that this is the right time for different broadcasters to leverage from a bouquet of channels. TV18, Star, Zee etc can actually gain from various niche channels in current market. But how?

Well, we can find some answers to this question by looking at the way web has grown in the past. Everyone was talking about social media some years back when it was growing, and everyone was doubting the way it could generate money! Then Facebook came and revolutionaized the way Social networks can generate money, but still many competitors are unable to cash on the same trend. Why so? Simply because their numbers are not proven and people don’t buy their idea. Today, Indian SNS can boast of being 2nd and 3rd after Facebook and Orkut (talking about bigadda/ibibo) but they can’t leverage the platform in the same same way as Facebook did! So, what’s the point?

Indian TV Channels can actually leverage the niche-segment revenue model, which is not yet captured by Social web! Channels like Star World, NDTV Goodtimes, Ten Action, Ten Cricket, UTV Bindass etc have an audience which is very well defined- young, social and connected via internet. If they can somehow start leveraging this Target Group (TG) before Indian websites can, it can be a huge advantage for them. Channels like Colors and Star Plus do well, but it becomes equally difficult to generate profits because of fragmented audience and huge competition!

Indian TV Industry is growing faster than Indian web (less penetration) and it’s time to leverage on niche content. But there is a huge challenge- how to buy the advertiser? Similar to web, where there is no proof of Indian social networks having substantial (engaging) user base, there is no proof of niche Channels having significant viewership! There is strong need of content monitoring and standardization of TV Industry. No TV Channel website has an RSS feed in our country and in an era where everything is measured via your web presence, it’s idiotic to not have one.

It’s a wake up call for Broadcasters, don’t just open up new Channels try to build a relationship with viewers, structure your content and make the data readily available for others to understand you better!

Does that make sense?

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