Mumbai: A unique brand association between NDTV Ltd and the UB Group may not be renewed this year at the end of its five-year term, according to people familiar with the development at NDTV and UB Group.
The exercise involved setting up lifestyle channel NDTV Good Times in 2007, using part of the tagline “king of good times” associated with the UB Group’s Kingfisher brand as well as promoter Vijay Mallya.
The UB Group committed around Rs 100 crore over a period of five years to the channel. The tie-up “leverages the editorial integrity and quality of the NDTV group and the strong lifestyle appeal of the Kingfisher brand”, according to the channel’s website.
The UB Group won’t renew the contract because of its financial situation, said one of the persons cited above. The UB Group’s debt-laden Kingfisher Airlines Ltd has cut flights and has been forced to delay salary payments. The person wasn’t aware of the fate of the “Good Times” branding contained in the channel’s name.
In an email response to questions, a UB Group spokesperson said, “No comments”.
NDTV’s spokesperson said in a text message: “We don’t comment on market speculations.”
Baking the tagline into the channel’s name was one way of getting around the restriction on liquor brands not being allowed to advertise in India.
“When NDTV Good Times was launched in September 2007, it was treated as an extension to Vijay Mallya’s premium brands and consequently was targeted towards a cosmopolitan audience,” said a senior executive at media buying and planning company Starcom MediaVest Group, who didn’t want to be identified. “The brand association initially did help enhance the ‘Good Times’ brand, but over the years, the channel’s programming has slipped and majority of the shows are repeated. Now given UB Group’s financial standing, the brand association is no longer relevant.”
An executive at media agency GroupM said, “The UB Group-NDTV brand association was novel, but the UB Group failed to capitalize on the tie-up.”
According to TAM Media Research, Fox Traveller led lifestyle channel viewership between 29 April and 26 May with a 36.3% channel share, followed by NDTV Good Times with 33.2% and TLC at 29.9%.
In 2009, US-based media company Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. acquired a 69% stake in NDTV Lifestyle Ltd, the arm of NDTV that runs the Good Times channel, for $55 million (around Rs 302.50 crore today). NDTV Group holds 31% stake in the company.