On his transition from Chennai to Mumbai to lead the organisation from the commercial capital of the country, CEO of Fourth Dimension Media Solutions, Mr Shankar, shared his plan for the organisation on an exclusive chat with tvnews4u.com:
1) What are the proportions of Fourth Dimension Media Solutions.?
Fourth Dimension has established its name by setting up a very successful Media Outsourcing Company in South India. Being a Part of the Chennai based SRM Group, we are one among the very few media companies based out of south, which is having a strong national presence.
I myself with more than two decades of media experience, we have worked with all major clients in India and we have a very strong team spread across the country with our offices in Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi and so on. Our pedigree has always been avid. we are no longer considered as a South based Regional player.
In terms of future plans, we have lot of things happening in the near future, we are eagerly waiting for the launch of new channel by Da Vinci Media, which is a national player that will help us to exercise our national presence in an effective manner.
We have all big spending national and regional brands present in Puthiya Thalaimuralai infotainment channel and Puthyugam entertainment channels. Many of them are exclusively roped in to these channels alone. Our expertise in Mumbai and Delhi markets are really good and we hope to add-in more value by playing a larger national role in future.
2) Could you brief us on your tie-up with Da Vinci Media.?
Da Vinci Media is a Kids and Learning Channel catering to children of age group 6 to 12 years, which is expected to be launched shortly. The Germany based Da Vinci Learning channel will provide content on topics like physics, chemistry, history and nature and work on simplifying scientific concepts and Fourth Dimension Media will be representing Da Vinci channel for ad sales.
It is an excellent product with phenomenal quality and we are looking forward to add it in our bouquet soon.
3) Can you list various Channel properties that are owned by Fourth Dimension.?
In Puthiya Thalaimurai, the No. 1 news channel in Tamil Nadu, we have Prestigious Award function ‘Tamilan Awards’, that recognises eminent Tamilians, who contributed to the country in various walks of life. We take immense pride to say that we are the only channel doing an award function in such scale, which is on par with any the national news channels. This year we have roped in Emami as the title sponsor and a CavinKare brand as the powered by sponsor which is happening on 23rd July, we have lot of associate sponsors from various regions like Lloyds AC, Mahindra Two Wheeler, India Oil, Anchor Tooth Paste, which are exclusively with Puthiya Thalaimurai.
We do have Puthiya Thalaimurai Shakthi Awards, in recognition of outstanding women in society on the occasion of women’s day during the Month of March.
In Puthyugam channel we are doing felicitation ceremony event for Actor MR Radha on 31st July, which is again a grand event with whole a lot of National brands sponsoring the same. In June we co-partnered Pooja Malhotra show and we were the sponsorship sales agents for Naseerudin Shah’s first ever stage play in Chennai titled Einstein.
We also advise many of our clients on Theatre advertising, in choosing the right movies and theaters with insight on choosing the right movie, with various analytical inputs on the unique factors that determine the success in Tamil Nadu market.
Apart from Puthiya Thalaimurai and Puthyugam, we handle sales for the business magazine Business India and we also represent Infinite Media, the country’s largest cable aggregator, who has cable business all over the country. we handle a range of clients for such a larger medium in cable arena spread across the India. we take pride in working for this platform with various agencies like GroupM, Madison, Mudra, Lintas and all Blue chip and regional agencies in the country.
4) Now that you are set for a National play, what are your plans and what is the scope for Fourth Dimension in the National Market.?
As I said earlier, our association with Da Vinci Media will be opening up our national exploration as the channel will be an English channel with nationwide distribution arrangements. Many are approaching us for similar partnerships, we are negotiating with all those possible partners and will announcing few more in the near future.
Our idea of business is very clear and sensible, we go with like minded players with meaningful and long term co-existing relationship for a sustained growth and benefits.
Fourth Dimension has a vast scope in the National market. Today, when a channel gets launched, instead of identifying a talented sales force, it will be easy for the broadcasters to work with organisations like us, who are well versed with larger markets like Mumbai and Delhi which are considered as the lifeline of Indian advertising industry.
I am not meaning that every single broadcaster need to work in this fashion, however, for a regional broadcaster with his base in Chennai or Kerala or AP, it will be difficult for them to identify and set up a team in larger markets, making them understand the product and monitor them from the remote places. Instead, a partnership with companies like us having an experienced team all over the country will always be a win-win situation for such players.
Even the international players like BBC, Cartoon Network and NDTV were started off in India on a model of media outsourcing until they got fully established in the market. Moreover, Identifying and managing talents in a scenario with 864 channels and 200 more to add in near future, will be a difficult task.
Secondly, with 1000 TV Channels, 600 Radio stations and 10000 Publications, Digital and Outdoor options available before a Media Planner, placing the product before them in each and every agency and market will be another Himalayan task, This is where, the organisations like us, who are already in well versed relationship could play a much easier role. Apart from this, we can also give effective feedback and guide such broadcasters in terms of formulating strategy to achieve better realisation.
In addition to this, we even wish to pitch for the smaller channels of larger broadcasting networks, wherein, we will be able to push it effectively by treating it as our bread and butter, whereas the same channel might become a smaller thing for a planner, due to the presence of larger channels of the same network before him.
Thus, we could see huge opportunities in-front of Fourth Dimension and looking to tap as many as possible with all the above merits.
5) What kind of bottom line that you see in this Business and on your deal with Da Vinci Media.?
The bottom line of this business depends up on the kind of partners we work with. However, the Industry basically works with a margin of 10 to 15%.
Having said that, this percentage equations varies depending up on the size and volume of the business. Credibility and strength of the partners and period of the assignment are also important factors that determine the margins.
Our deal with Da Vinci Media is an ad sales partnership and I cannot comment on the volume, period and margins without the consent of our partners as it is very sensitive information for both the sides.
6) In a scenario, where Television is under threat from New Media like Digital and Mobile, What is your opinion on the future of Television in India.?
According to me, Television is here to stay and still has the scope to grow further as we can look at International markets with much larger Digital penetration are still seeing the co-existence of Television and Print along with the Digital.
India being a largest growing economy in the world, the same will surely reflect in the growth of advertising and television Industry too.
On the other hand, the successful completion of digitisation process in India will bring in more subscription revenues to the broadcasters that will enable them to spend more on improving the quality of the content, to meet the ever growing expectations of the audience, which in-turn will pave way for increase of viewership.
Having said that, the measuring metrics of ratings need to be streamlined further with more samples in each market with betterment in accuracy of the ratings that will guide the advertisers to device their spending to achieve maximum Return on Investment with minimum wastage in spending.
7) As you commented on the need for improvement in Measuring Metrics, what is your opinion on the new entrant BARC which is considered as the new currency of Indian Advertising.?
BARC is a welcome move, it has triggered a lot of expectations among the players. I have seen the package of BARC myself, it looks very exciting and I appreciate their progress in terms of sample size, Measurement methodologies, the kind of stuff what they have done in LC 1 and LC 2 and other innovations in measuring technology and I hope they will continue to improve it further as promised.
However, my biggest worry is that South Indian market is always a neglected part. They never take South seriously despite controlling 35% of the Indian advertising budgets and equally in terms of number of channels in all the five states of the Southern Region. In fact Tamil Nadu is the second largest advertising market in the country, which also has the second largest film Industry, but still they lack in implementation of measurement matrices in the required number to determine a better level of accuracy in numbers.
Moreover, Ten years before we spoke about TAM and its monopoly and today we speak about BARC, which is again a monopoly. I only hope this continues for a longer time and improve the measurement methodologies further.
8) Can you comment on your two leading channels Puthiya Thalaimurai and Puthyugam.?
Puthiya Thalaimurai is the no. 1 news and infotainment channel in Tamil Nadu market, which is far ahead of others in terms of credibility, positioning, packaging, presentation, anchors and technology. We started off with a technology that is four years ahead of other players and it has improved further in all these years.
Puthiya Thalaimurai also connected well with the audience by giving importance to their socio economic and sensitive issues. Our ground activity to connect with the audience such as Veetukkoru Vingyani … a school level science innovation awards that help us to connect with 25000 parents and students across Tamil Nadu every year. We also organise annual Agri Festivals in Erode and Thirunelveli towns during every November that sees the participation of more than one lakh farmers. We have Ayudham Seivom that encourages the invention and engineering talents of a common man. We promote a revolutionary social initiate through ‘Nammal Mudiyum Nambu’ that address the need of people like Libraries, Digging lakes, Laying roads etc.. with self help and support of social organisations. The channel serves as an example of a progressive news channel with other shows like Konjam Soru Konjam Varalaru, Award winning Ner Pada Pesu, Samanyarudan Orunaal, Karka Kasadara etc…
Puthuyugam on the other hand has positioned itself as an entertaining youth attraction with a range of path breaking content strategy. In less than one and a half year the channel has grown to deliver 80 to 100 GRPs that too in a market like Tamil Nadu. Our idea of introducing the Korean K Series for the first time in the country has evoked excellent response from the audience and prompted others to follow the same in other regions. In fact the success of K Series in Puthuyugam has created a spurt in demand for Korean content in India. The Korean series are one of the top rated shows in South India. Many had event laughed at us, but, we proved them wrong.
We recently, did a huge event for Yuvan Shankar Raja’s Yuvan Musical Express that has seen assembly of 50,000 audience in Thirunalveli town.
We also did Love Beats four weeks before the valentine’s day, which was specially made for Cadburys and seen the participation of whole a lot of youngsters.
Puthuyugam was the channel which came out with first serial acted by Actress Simran, we did a fantastic wedding game show for the first time in South India with actress Sneha, all this added to the hype and excitement to the consumers.
The Channel has grown enough to see the activity of all leading National and Regional Brands such as P&G, Godrej, Rickett & Benkiser, Maruthi, Cadburys, Pediasure, Marico, Chennai Silks, Pothys, Lalitha Jewellery etc…
9) what is your take on the advertising Industry towards South and Particularly Tamil Nadu market.?
Today, we consult lot of clients in Delhi and Mumbai on South and Tamil Nadu market. I wish to tell the planning and buying community which are largely based out of Mumbai and Delhi that the clients and agencies are having very negligible knowledge on the changing behaviour of consumers in Tamil Nadu and South.
Both the fraternity and the clients should know the basics of the South states quantitatively and qualitatively. if a planner or a buyer sitting in Delhi or Mumbai thinks that Rajinikanth still rules the roost in South, then sorry, that is not the reality of the market.
So, I wish they need to make serious efforts to understand the present condition of the south market because the viewing habits of the parents, youth and children has underwent a major change. The Kids and youth in South, no longer watch the daily soaps along with their moms.
Moreover, within each state there is a behavioural divide between different regions of a state. The behavioural pattern varies between Coastal, Southern and Central Tamil Nadu and so a guy in Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai doesn’t think, act or consume in similar fashion. The market need to understand this minute aspects.
Similarly, in terms of films, the audience started supporting small budget movies without stardom and the big budget movies with mega star cast are getting doomed. The dubbing and remake rights of small budget movies are getting sold to other markets like a hot cakes.
I recently, prepared an exhaustive illustrated presentation to the industry and they are gung-ho about it and I answered a lot of their queries on that, I also conduct quizzes in many agencies to make them understand on this aspects. For example, Tamil Nadu being the Primary market of the South, It needs to be broken into many small parts for better understanding.
Chennai for example is considered a conservative market until recent times started consuming Farhan Aktar show, Nasseruding Shah’s Einstein, Shreya Goshal show, Paresh Rawal show, Full house audience for tribute to rolling stones and scorpions which never use to happen earlier.
So my submissions to clients and agency is that they need to make efforts to understand it better.
10) What according to you is the next big thing for Broadcasters in South.?
With the robust growth and changes in distribution scenario of Tamil Nadu market and it is up and on par with other markets of South, interms of level playing. However, according to me the implementation of Digital Addressable System (DAS) in Phase III & IV will be the next biggest game changer for the broadcasters. With DAS, viewers will get to see altogether a different quality of content.
For Instance, The channels which are shooting their content in Digital quality will be able to give a much better viewing experience to its consumers. It will also create a level playing field among the broadcasters. With DAS the Broadcasters will also see increase in subscription revenue as there will be a transparency in dealing with the Cable Operators and declaration of subscribers volume will become an open secret.
11) What is your comment on the performance of Hindi dubbing serial in South Markets.?
I should say that the Hindi dubbed content in Tamil, Telugu are doing very well and event Malayalam to some extend is also doing well. According to me the viewers primarily get attracted to the content with nativity factors in the base of the storyline and culture. So, any serial that comes with this factors are being consumed well by the viewers in South.
Moreover, the grandeur, richness in making, costumes of the characters and even their jewelry attires are also playing as a major additional attracting factors. they also get to learn new fashion trends through such shows. They also watch the lanes of Mumbai, Delhi, Big offices and sets of Joint family houses etc..
In fact in Tamil Nadu the audience even accepted the Korean Dubbed series for the first time in the country. In Puthuyugam we tried Anamkiaa from Sony TV, which also did very well.
12) Could you brief us on your team members in Fourth Dimension Media Solutions.?
We have a strong team of expertise spread across all major markets in India with our offices in Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi.
We have Bharath Visawanath, who is the COO of the Company and he is based out of Chennai along with R Balakrishnan, the Head of South and he leads a team of force under him. He takes care of the supervising the sales in entire South Market that comprises Tamil Nadu, Bangalore and Kerala.
Jayantha Sarka, based out of Delhi is the Head of North. He along with his team takes care of Delhi and Surrounding markets.
A Thiyagaraj is the Head of west based out of Mumbai and he drives the team under him in Mumbai and surrounding markets.
I have moved to Mumbai recently as per our new strategy to operations the business from Mumbai.