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Fiction, sitcoms, reality: Bindass’ mantra in 2015

MUMBAI: 2014 was a busy year for Bindass as it implemented its strategy of going from ‘being relevant’ to young people to becoming integral and purposive. The year also saw the network rebrand an existing channel into a pure-play music channel called Bindass Play to complement the youth general entertainment channel. Looking ahead into 2015, fiction, sitcoms and reality seem to be the mantra for Bindass while music-based content will be the focus for Bindass Play.

When Bindass launched, it featured a brash ‘Rest Less’ image with reality shows. It slowly moved on to ‘B for Change’ by completely moving away from the reality space and slowly introducing relationship-based shows.

In 2014, Bindass’ strategy was to focus on long-form narratives of the lives of young adults. The second was choosing a theme that resonated with young adults. The third was to make sure the young adult viewers engaged in purposive action.

Thus, during the year the number of original programming hours went up from one to 3.5 hours every week. The brand philosophy was followed up by the shows and a ‘Dream Start’ initiative that focused on being able to provide a jumpstart to young people’s careers. The first edition of that was getting someone to intern with the network’s movie studio arm UTV Motion Pictures.

Vijay Subramaniam, VP and Head - Content and Communication, Media Networks , Disney IndiaSpeaking to TelevisionPost.com, Disney India Media Networks VP and head content and communication Vijay Subramaniam said, “We redefined a lot of original frameworks the brand was built on in a very progressive way. This was pretty much the year where we moved from being a magazine-format channel to really about becoming a long-format content storytelling channel with shows like ‘Yeh Hai Aashiqui’, ‘Halla Bol’, ‘Love by Chance’, ‘Pyaar Ka the End’ which blossomed in the year.”

While they were doing this, Bindass also optimised the music that it was playing and thought the time was right to give it a solid complement, thus launching Bindass Play.

“So now the Bindass network comes together very nicely with these two channels serving the entertainment and music needs of viewers. Therefore, it’s been a defining year for us when Bindass went into a completely new orbit. We enjoyed some of the highest ratings this year,” he added.

Subramaniam states that from targeting the 15–24 age group, the channel has now started to bring in people from the age group of 25–34, thus expanding its audience to appeal to a 15–34 audience.

Having built on consumer insights driving the need for relationship-based shows, the channel now feels the time has come to move on to a couple of other new spaces in the New Year.

“Starting 2015, you will see that we are moving in the ‘coming of age’ direction. This is what we will focus on as it’s another important aspect in the development of young adults. Another dimension from where our content will emerge is strong characters, people standing up for what they believe in and becoming heroes in everyday life,” stated Subramaniam.

This change will be driven by Bindass announcing the launch of a few fiction shows in the first three months of 2015, followed by weekly, episodic sitcoms in the middle of the year. The channel is also exploring some non-scripted and other reality formats which will be unveiled towards the end of 2015.

“We have always been friends of our viewers and as their tastes evolve, we need to evolve too. So while we were revelling in reality, we felt that on the basis of consumer feedback, we needed to get in other dimensions to tell a story and there might be a time when we will come back. Everything boils down to telling great stories and if we can do that in a reality format, we will do it,” he mentioned.

While Bindass will seek to deliver fresh and varied content, Bindass Play will also see the second level of its content plans being unveiled starting January 2015.

The first stage witnessed a mood-mapping strategy and interactivity with four shows curated from social media platforms and a mobile app. In the second stage, it will be all about music.

“We will come up with many curated opportunities with music. Some of these could be user co-opted. Some could be the diversity of sound in India and more. We will unveil music-based content starting January,” he revealed.

Subramaniam added that if one brings these two channels together, he has a powerful means of circulating this consumption. “I can take some of this music and sample it on Bindass and I can take the story promotions and sample them on Bindass Play. So we can really cross-pollinate our audiences between the two offerings.”