UTV Software Communications Ltd, a Mumbai-based media and entertainment company, will kick-start its youth entertainment initiative under the brand name Bindass with the launch of two channels—a Hindi general entertainment channel and the other playing movies—on 24 September.
Subsequently, the company plans to launch two more youth-centric channels,
Web and mobile properties, and retail initiatives involving cafés and merchandising under the Bindass brand name.
New market: Bindass CEO Zarina Mehta says the company will invest around Rs270 crore in its latest initiative.
UTV aims to target viewers in the 15-34 age group through this initiative.
The entire exercise will entail an investment of around Rs270 crore, said Zarina Mehta, CEO, Bindass. UTV is also talking to two leading companies for a strategic partnership, she added. “The idea is to raise money for overall broadcasting initiatives.”
Bindass, she said, is the first of its kind complete entertainment offering for young Indians. “Through our broadcast, Web, mobile and retail initiatives, we intend to reach our target audience at all touch points familiar to them,” she added. The Bindass.com website and short codes for mobile phones through which viewers can participate in various contests and download available programming will also go live on Monday, when the two channels are launched.
UTV is kicking off the Hindi entertainment channel with a marketing initiative called ‘Bingo Bindass Go To Space Contest’. In a strategic tie-up with ITC Ltd’s snack brand Bingo, the company will launch a contest in which the winner will pocket a Rs1.5 crore ticket to space aboard RocketPlane XP, a US-based commercial flight.
Programming for the entertainment channel include shows such as Sun Yaar Chill Maar, which is an Indian version of popular Western sitcom Friends; another comedy show called Lagegi, an action show with a female protagonist called Shakira, and a magic show by a young magician Ugesh Sarcar, called 3rd Degree. Some programmes will also have online games associated with them on the website.
UTV has already tied up with advertisers such as Colgate Max Fresh, Bingo, Spykar Jeans, Minto, Sunfeast and Essenza Di Wills for on-air sponsorships.
Mehta, the brain behind successful soaps such as Shanti, Parivartan, Saaya, Shararat and Shakalaka Boom Boom, said Bindass would not have soaps or music videos.
Last year, UTV sold Hungama, a channel targeting teenagers, to Walt Disney Inc. “We are not in competition with Hungama or other channels for children. Bindass’ programming is different and viewers will notice that once we’re on air,” she said.
Analysts say the “different” positioning of various Bindass initiatives will help UTV create a new market for itself. “They are not only targeting a different audience, but are also using different distribution platforms, which are growing quite fast,” said Timmy Kandhari, entertainment and media leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers, a global consultancy firm. “The way we watch content on TV in India is changing as it did in the West. Broadband and mobile is now an integral part of communication.”
UTV is likely to spend around Rs18-20 crore on promotions extending across platforms such as television, print, radio and outdoors. “We are going to be very aggressive about our marketing with a strong presence on every medium as well as strategic tie-ups with schools and universities for event sponsorships,” said Mehta. The company has already joined hands with IITs in New Delhi and Mumbai, as well as St. Xaviers College in Mumbai to sponsor their annual festivals, and is in talks with three more institutions for more on-ground activities.
UTV has also formed media alliances with cinema chain PVR Ltd, radio channel Red FM, and television network Headlines Today forpromotions.
“A large chunk of our customers are between the age of 16-24 years. And this is the audience Bindass is trying to tap,” said Gautam Dutta, CEO (CineMedia), PVR. The tie-up, he added, was not based on monetary terms, but on leveraging advertising spots on the respective mediums.