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Life OK ready for a makeover

MUMBAI: Star India’s second Hindi general entertainment channel (GEC) Life OK has lately been on a high with new properties. Just after attaining an all-time peak position of number three on the leader board, the channel is now set to undergo a makeover and add big-ticket fiction and non-fiction properties to its programming line-up.

ajit-thakur2Aiming to add more scale in terms of fiction and non-fiction, the channel has put in place an aggressive content agenda for the next six months, said Life OK GM Ajit Thakur.

The channel is also undergoing a makeover within the next two to three months, whereby the team aims to take the channel to the next level. The makeover will see the launch of new campaigns, a new look and packaging.

A number of national and international creative agencies are presently working on the look, including Ogilvy India and venturethree from London.

Speaking to TelevisionPost.com, Thakur said, “We want to be a part of our viewers in more ways. The new packaging and look will reflect the philosophy of being more relatable, and more audiences can relate to us and vice versa. We will take the brand to the next level with a host of new launches.”

Among the new additions to the programming line-up is a fiction show by Ekta Kapoor’s Balaji Telefilms and a big-ticket talent hunt for the non-fiction band. Work is also on to develop the Spanish telenovela ‘Missing’ which recently moved from Star Plus to Life OK.

“We will launch ‘Missing’ within the next two months and are presently working on developing it. As the story got conceptualised, Gaurav Bannerjee [Star Plus GM] and I felt the story was more suited to Life OK.”

Currently, the channel is also hunting for a new show concept in a completely different genre that has not been explored before on TV, or to give a fresh new take to an existing genre.

Savdhaan IndiaThakur and his team are also keen to work with more people irrespective of their experience on TV. In fact, the producers of ‘Savdhaan India’, ‘Baawre’ and ‘Mahadev’ are all first-time producers on television.

In terms of its current properties too, the channel is trying to fill in the gaps in its primetime slot. It has identified the need to work harder on shows in its 7:30 pm and 8 pm bands (‘Gustakh Dil’ and ‘Mahadev’ respectively).

Experimenting with content earlier, Life OK had initiated a dual-primetime slot for two of its fiction shows ‘Nadaan Parindey’ at 6:30 pm and 9 pm, and ‘Baawre’ at 7 pm and 10 pm. With ‘Baawre’ having launched a week back, it is experimenting with audience response to the two time bands, while ‘Nadaan Parindey’ now airs only in the 9 pm band.

Baawre-Logo01Thakur stated, “The move was a four-week sampling exercise by us. There are very different audiences for both the time bands. We felt ‘Nadaan Parindey’ was more suited to the 9 pm band, and we will soon do the same with ‘Baawre’, following which it will air only in one time band depending on viewer response.”

Nonetheless, in order to grow in the near future, the channel needs shows that rate over 2 TVR (television ratings). Presently, three of its shows—‘Tumhaari Paakhi’, ‘Gustakh Dil’ and ‘Ek Boond Ishq’—rate above 1 TVR each.

“There is a lot more work to do in that space and it is presently work in progress for us,” added Thakur.

However, he is very confident of the prospects of shows like ‘Tumhaari Paakhi’, ‘Ek Boond Ishq’, ‘Shapath’ and ‘Nadaan Parindey’.

Life OK’s recent strategy that propelled it to number three was the high point it had strategically created for shows like ‘Tumhaari Paakhi’, in addition to the first edition of the Life OK Now Awards.

Thakur further claimed that while the recently-concluded Indian Premier League brought down other channels quite a bit in terms of ratings, it did not have much adverse effect on Life OK.

“In the last six months, we grew the most in terms of our different genres. All of the shows co-exist, and going ahead, we aim to stay rooted. We will also expand our weekend programming line-up through the new talent hunt and more,” he said.

On the advertising front, he said that ad rates have been growing for the past two years but the demand has not decreased. As per the team, the inventory is full and the reach of the channel is number two even as they get newer advertisers on board.

Thakur added, “We are on plan to meet targets and have been growing steadily. The inventory loss due to the ad cap regulation impacted us, but it was good that we implemented it. Moreover, the IPL did not affect us at all in terms of shift in the number of advertisers.”