Govind Shahi opens up about plans for Colors Gujarati UK.
Colors Gujarati celebrated its first year anniversary in the UK on 1st June 2022. Despite launching during the pandemic, the channel has made significant headway amongst the troubled UK Asian TV market.
BizAsiaLive.com caught up with Govind Shahi, Executive Vice President, IndiaCast Media, who operates the Colors branded entertainment channels in the UK. Hailing the “success” of Colors Gujarati and plans ahead, Shahi also hinted about further investment in other regional language TV channels in the UK.
How would you describe the first year for Colors Gujarati in the UK?
A super success in my view. It is never easy to ideate and launch something when all of us are working from home but quite honestly given the success I am really pleased with the channel’s performance.
Which would you describe as the milestone moment for Colors Gujarati since it’s inception?
Like I said it has been a great launch and recently the performance has continued to improve. For the last four weeks viewership, Colors Gujarati is among the Top 4 GEC within the All 4+ years audience and #2 Indian GEC for Housewives with Kids. For Indian Viewers, Colors Gujarati is the top-rated secondary GEC. Moreover, out of Top 10 most watched programs by Indians, Colors Gujarati has five programmes.
Which time bands/shows have clicked well with audiences?
Our success to date has driven us to work even harder and the results are beginning to show. Viewership of Colors Gujarati has improved consistently over last three months. (June-25thAug’22), ‘Maru Mann Mohi Gayu’, ‘Sorathni Mrs Singham’, ‘Rashi Rikshawwali’ and ‘Moti Baa Ni Nani Vahu’ are among the Top 4 shows on the secondary GECs. Another big upcoming property is ‘Rumzum Norta 2022’ and we are very excited about it. We will continue to ramp this up with new programming and interesting content.
Local shows were short lived on the channel, any plans for more such shows for UK audiences?
The show ‘Shu Chale Che’ is coming back on the channel and we will add one more show to increase the choice of local content offerings.
Being the only Gujarati offering on television in the UK, how has the response been from advertisers?
While our existing advertisers were quite ready to support us in our new journey, we have seen an increase in the number of first-time advertisers who are now repeat advertisers and have given the channel a thumbs up.
It is challenging to shift the advertiser mindset and one of the avenues we think could help is allocating a higher budget for local programming.
As well as advertisers, Gujarati communities must’ve openly embraced the channel, how important is it for the channel to be present in local Gujarati communities / events?
We will venture into the events space soon and also create logical programming to be in sync with the local viewers. We are getting great feedback and trying to incorporate as much as possible.
What has been the most challenging time for Colors Gujarati in the UK?
Whilst we are making great inroads with the mainstream, local advertisers are not really increasing their spends. Though repeat advertising is a trend, budgets are not showing a corresponding hike. This is the situation despite the fact that the channel is performing very well. It is challenging to shift the advertiser mindset and one of the avenues we think could help is allocating a higher budget for local programming.
BARB remains the only audience metric for UK TV broadcasters, while numbers have been on the lower side, the channel is consistently beating other bigger brands, what’s your take on that?
Well a lot of hard work has gone into understanding audience preferences and the channel was curated to fill a gap that existed in the market and the result has been phenomenal. It is a differentiator channel v/s what most GEC channels have offered over the years as it caters to specific niche audiences. This is driving the success and comparison v/s bigger brands as you have rightly pointed out.
Are you planning to launch other regional language channels in the UK?
Watch this space….
How did you the idea of launching Colors Gujarati in the UK come about?
We have regular brainstorming sessions within the team to think of how best we cater to our audiences and retain and build new audience segments through innovative ideas and suggestions. One such idea was Colors Gujarati which seemed to click with everyone where we then invested time and effort to do a more in-depth analysis of the market, held focus groups to feel the pulse of the audiences and arrived at the conclusion that this was a winning bet.
The closure of an erstwhile Gujarati channel a few years back was the basis of that prediction which had an additional subscription model and the programming content was not comparable.
Well I think the chance of failure is there in any launch of a product and of course we had a lot of naysayers who predicted the channel wouldn’t last more than six months but we were keen to try and the team was willing to take the risk. The closure of an erstwhile Gujarati channel a few years back was the basis of that prediction which had an additional subscription model and the programming content was not comparable. For us, the time of launch actually worked quite well as we could get some captive audience during the launch phase due to COVID19 lockdown, etc. coupled with the fact that the programming was differentiated v/s what existed.
What’s next for Colors Gujarati in the UK?
More localisation, on ground presence through local events, enhanced viewing choices and a lot more to follow as we continue to cater to our audiences and providing them with quality entertainment and content.
Colors Gujarati is available on Sky channel 794 and Virgin channel 825.