Colors looking local for growth, doubles down its regional offerings

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Almost two years into its launch, Viacom18’s second Kannada general channel (GEC), Super, is set for a complete overhaul of its weekday and weekend programming this June. The channel will introduce eight new shows across genres and formats in 21 days, in a first for Indian The channel announced its fresh line-up through an especially-created promo ‘June Tingalu Super Tingalu’.

The slew of shows includes family dramas, love stories, sitcoms, and reality shows, including a new one for budding singers, a first for the market from The channel will also see Bigg Boss Kannada returning on air this October for its sixth season.

It is not often that a channel’s prime-time programming for weekdays and weekends undergoes a complete overhaul. It, therefore, is pertinent to ask why the channel would opt for such a measure.

Was the content not resonating with the audiences? Ravish Kumar, Head (Regional Entertainment), Viacom18 says the case is anything but. “Since its launch two years ago, has grown in leaps and bounds. It has helped us (Viacom18) capture almost 40 per cent of the market share and it is a strong contender for the number five position in the market (Kannada GEC). The point of launching a second in the same market was to offer more variety of content. We know the market much better now, and feel it is time we ramped up the offerings in the market,” he says.

While Colors Kannada leads the charts by a large margin in the Kannada market, has been a consistent number 5 player. Other channels in the top five include Zee Kannada, Star Suvarna and Udaya TV. Kumar also explains that while the content on has resonated with the audience in the market, the channel needs to make up in the distribution department which he feels will happen in the coming months.

The addition of a second within the same regional market also raised concerns of cannibalisation. However, Kumar and his team have a different view of the matter. “Our reading of the situation is that the addition of Colors Super has helped expand the viewership pie. While some of the viewership on the channel has come at the cost of other GEC’s, the consumption of Kannada GEC content has gone up. We went in with the intention of introducing new content and letting the audience choose what they wanted to see, and it paid off,” he says.

In addition to ramping up its presence in the southern market, Colors is also taking steps to fortify its play in the Bangla market in the coming months. Its channel, Colors Bangla, will be host the Bengali adaptation of the popular game show Kaun Banega Crorepati, Ke Hobe Banglar starting July 6. The show will be presented by actor Prosenjit Chatterjee, a very popular face in the Bengali business.

The show will air at prime time (9 pm to 10 pm) on weekdays. “We chose to introduce the show in July (rather than the start of the festive season). There are multiple reasons – it’s right on the back of the Indian Premier League and leads into the festive season. We also did not want it to clash with the Hindi version, since the Bengali market also contributes significantly to the HSM (Hindi speaking market),” Kumar explains.

The Hindi version of the show anchored by Amitabh Bachchan is expected to start mid-August. With a significant consumption of Hindi language content in the Bangla market, an overlap of the two language adaptations could affect one or both the shows. The show previously aired on Mahuaa Bangla, which has now gone off-air.