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Disney India spells out its youth channel’s strategy
MUMBAI: With Siddharth Roy Kapur at the helm of Disney India, its youth brand Bindass is witnessing quite a few changes. While music has gradually made way for fiction shows focusing on love and relationships, the company’s Bollywood news and entertainment channel UTV Stars is rebranding itself as a pure-play music channel Bindass Play.
Speaking to the 15–34 age group, Bindass over the past seven years has changed from an edgy channel to one that is now more focused on relationships. The company launched another channel UTV Stars in 2011 to cater to the Bollywood gossip needs of its viewers but could not build it on the philosophy that Bindass stood for.
Disney India MD Siddharth Roy Kapur says, “UTV Stars was an interesting channel, but we wanted to develop a channel that will complement Bindass and build on that brand. We feel that with Bindass Play, that is something we have managed to do.”
Led by the three principles of ‘inspire’, ’empower’ and ‘celebrate’, Bindass Play will cater to another content set—music.
Disney India media networks VP and head content and communication Vijay Subramaniam added, “We felt that with the unique blend of storytelling that we now have on Bindass, the time is ripe for us to serve another range of content that pretty much covers the whole spectrum of youth interests.”
The company will now have two definite channels in terms of content. While Bindass can largely be defined as a youth GEC competing with channels like MTV and Channel V, Bindass Play will be a pure-play music channel competing with Sony Mix, 9XM, MTunes and more.
A peek into the content of Bindass Play
It will air 13 music-based shows over the week and cater to various moods. The music will start with high energy in the morning through ‘Tia’s Request Show’ at 9 am every day. It is a request show largely driven by Facebook and ‘Full Charge’ a back-to-back band. The mood gets a bit relaxed during the afternoons with shows like ‘What’s Up – Top 10’, ‘Melody Hai Remedy’ and ‘Chak De Phatte’. It gets back to the current hits in the evening with a Twitter-driven request show titled ‘Tweet Meri Beat’ at 7 pm every day. It then shifts to down-tempo music with ‘Ishq Messenger’ at 9 pm every day, which again is a request-based show driven by SMS.
“The philosophy of ‘you choose, we play’ runs through the channel, enabling the viewers to curate shows with the music of their choice. So while mood mapping is the music strategy, the Bindass brand values are the driving strategy,” added Subramaniam.
Bindass Play will not see any ghazals or music from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s; and non-filmic music will only comprise around 5–10 per cent of the music playlist. But that will again be within the ambit of popular music.
By December–January, the channel will unveil its second-level content plans which are already underway. There might be some music-based shows, although it was neither confirmed nor denied by the officials.
Digital will be an important play going forward and the channel has also planned a good deal of brand-driven and AFP-led activity on digital and on ground.
Disney India VP and head of revenue Nikhil Gandhi stated that the endeavour will be to have Bindass Play in the top slot. “It is not going to be a new channel launch per se so we are not going to start distributing from Day 1. It’s already got a platform, and is available on all DTH platforms and top MSOs across the Hindi-speaking markets. Hence, we will launch with a bang.”
Bindass has moved on the EPG with the GECs and does not sit with the music channels anymore. UTV Stars is currently available across 60 million homes, and by virtue of the distribution, Bindass Play will get that from the very first day.
Both the channels will be sold differently until there are clients who look at a certain value proposition by packaging them together.
The channel will launch with four brand partners and will be sold at a healthy price, stated Gandhi.
What will be the strategy for Bindass?
Bindass has had a consistent strategy of having five hours of music in early in the day between 7 am and 12 noon. The channel will continue with that and going ahead there will be music only in the early day part; everything else will be show-based storytelling.
Subramaniam stated, “I think we have hit a purple patch in terms of our storytelling. We have a pretty strong content pipeline. The idea is to go down the road of robust storytelling using fiction formats and live action for Bindass while Bindass Play will complement all things music.”
Starting November, Bindass will launch two new shows in a span of two months—the next two during January–February and then two more during April–May.
With a strong focus on storytelling, Bindass has no plans to bring reality shows into its programming. Shows like ‘Dadagiri’, ‘Big Switch’ and ‘Beg Borrow Steal’ will bid goodbye, as these shows are not expressive of the youth anymore.
“There was a time when the reflection of the youth’s expression was very exclusive. Over time, they have become more conformist and it’s more about social inclusion which includes what their family or friends want. And we are reflecting that change. It is all about formats because they allow us to tell the story in the most expressive manner. Right now, the flavour of storytelling that we have requires it to be in the format that it is,” he added.
However, he added that they are not excluding reality format shows. If they get the right format that helps in telling the story, they will go back to it.