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Life OK to strengthen fiction programming with experimental content
MUMBAI: In a bid to move up the ladder riding on differentiated content, Star India’s second Hindi general entertainment channel (GEC) Life OK is gearing up to strengthen its fiction programming.
The channel has in the past experimented with mythological and fantasy properties like ‘Devon Ke Dev Mahadev’ and ‘Hatim’, successful crime shows like ‘Savdhaan India’ and ‘Hum Ne Li Hai Shapath’ and an array of reality shows like ‘Welcome-Baazi Mehmaan Nawazi Ki’ and ‘Bachelorette India… Mere Khayalon Ki Mallika’.
While shows like ‘Mahadev’ and ‘Savdhaan India’ propelled the channel to newer heights, other experiments like ‘Welcome’ and ‘Mere Khayalon Ki Mallika’ did not achieve the desired results. Even as the channel continues its experiments, it is now laying its focus strongly on fiction properties to top the leader board.
Its latest gamble was the launch of the intense fiction show ‘Nadaan Parinde’ amid the IPL buzz, due to which it opened its 6:30 pm slot extending its primetime programming from 6:30 pm to 11 pm. The channel also targeted the 9 pm slot for the show to get more sampling.
The start has been middling for the show with ratings averaging at 1.1 million TVTs, and it will be another three to four weeks before the impact of the show can be determined.
Speaking to TelevisionPost.com, Life OK content head Anirudh Pathak said, “We saw an opportunity in extending our primetime with this show. Many other channels have also taken the same step as we can see with Zee TV for example, which has shifted its popular show ‘Pavitra Rishta’ to 6:30 pm. The dual primetime slot was an experiment and it will be another three to four weeks before we can determine its course.”
The channel is now aiming to offer new content and its upcoming shows will reflect that philosophy. Among the shows that will be launched after the IPL is a fiction love story with Sunshine Productions and Neelesh Misra’s Content Project.
The story will be that of a middle-class youth life that has ambitions of making it big in cities like Mumbai. A love story will be intertwined into this concept, along with a novel initiative where Neelesh Misra will act as a ‘sutradhaar’ or narrator weaving the story together.
Pathak claims that this is yet another experiment by the channel to take a different approach to storytelling.
It is also working on a show with the Rajshri Group with a concept revolving around relationships and positive values, an area where Rajshri has its expertise.
The show with Misra is slated to launch following IPL and the period will act as a testing time for the channel to see which slot withstands the IPL pressure. Pathak comments that now is the time for them to wait and watch to determine which slot needs restructuring.
With comedy being the trend among most Hindi GECs today, it was only natural to see Life OK follow suit. But Pathak states that comedy is not only about jokes and the show will be unlike others currently airing on various channels.
“Comedy is in fashion today, but we don’t want to do what others are doing. There is a lot more in comedy than just jokes and stand-up acts. We are trying to work on the lines of ‘Office Office’ and other such shows and develop a novel idea which connects with the audience,” he mentioned.
Currently under wraps, the channel aims to launch the comedy show on weekends by this year end. Meanwhile, it is also ideating to develop a historical or mythological show for launch during the same period.
Having designed a strong fiction strategy, the channel also needs to work on its non-fiction where other channels are busy lining up high-budget, glossy properties. Currently, Life OK is airing the second season of its non-fiction show ‘Welcome’ during weekdays.
Not having a non-fiction line-up to boast about, Pathak explains that they are in the process of developing new non-fiction content that moves beyond the song and dance reality shows and into the experimental realm.
He said, “We have reached this far without any strong non-fiction or high-budget property and we are now working on investing more in fiction to make it better along with some new non-fiction shows too.”