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SET sketches new content plan

MUMBAI: Sony Entertainment Television (SET) is working on a new content plan to revive the channel. The strategy revolves around bringing a mythological and big shows in a variety of genres featuring big TV stars.

Earlier this year, SET brought back its popular crime drama ‘Bhanwar’ after over a decade. In an aim to get viewers back to the channel, the team brought back its horror series ‘Aahat’. SET lined up its weekends with crime shows like ‘Adaalat’, ‘Bhanwar’, ‘CID’ and ‘Crime Patrol’ from 8 to 11 pm and then turned its attention to weekday shows.

In the weekday slot, the channel recently launched ‘Muh Boli Shaadi’ to refresh its 8:30 pm slot and has unveiled a big ticket fiction show ‘Dil Ki Baatein Dil Hi Jaane’ with popular TV actor Ram Kapoor, which will occupy a late primetime slot from March. The show has been written by Bollywood director Mahesh Bhatt and is produced by Gurudev Bhalla and Jayesh Gada. It is presently being scripted, and the production work is going on in Rajasthan.

Going ahead, SET has a few more shows on the anvil to refresh its weekday line-up. Some of its new shows include ‘Mahabali Hanuman’, a mythological which is set to unveil soon, a show with another big TV actor Rajeev Khandelwal in April, followed by non-fiction property ‘Indian Idol’ to occupy weekend band from June.

Gaurav SethSET SVP and head marketing Gaurav Seth says that the strategy now is to regain audiences and hold on to them. “The strategy is about differentiation, stars, mythologicals and historical, and keeping a strong mix of content to bring in viewers and continue the resonance with viewers. If I can give them innovative ideas continuously, they will come to us. So we have to wow them with promotion, marketing and create buzz among them.”

When asked what went wrong earlier, he says, “Sony as a brand has a certain perception in the mind of the consumer. We created good content, but it didn’t resonate with the Sony consumer. We believe that today the call for variety, stars, and big shows is being answered by us and we are on track now.”

Seth explains, “It’s not the fare consumers find on other channels. It will make people think and act. We are moving in a direction now. We moved in a certain direction last year and there was a lot of emphasis on ‘Yudh’, ‘KBC’ and some smaller shows. But I think that course correction has happened in what we have to offer. I think we have heard the voice of the consumer.”

Change is going to be constant for the channel as it looks to refresh all of its early weekday primetime shows it launched in 2014.

Seth also reveals that they have no plans to bring back ‘KBC’ and ‘Boogie Woogie’ this year.

SET is bringing in ‘Indian Idol’ to strengthen weekends. It presently airs four hours of crime shows back to back from Friday to Sunday. Isn’t there a need to bring differentiation there?

For long, people have been saying that they get to see ‘CID’ or ‘Crime Patrol’ the whole day, and Seth agrees with the sentiment. “We have tried content that hasn’t gained the traction we would like but now we are doing stuff that viewers will like. So we are saying come watch us, don’t discount us now because we are back in the space you want us to be and that’s clearly the thinking.”

“’Adalaat’, ‘Bhanwar’, ‘CID’ and ‘Crime Patrol’ on weekends are Sony’s strength and I don’t want to lose that,” he adds.

Presently SET’s reach stands at 42 per cent on a weekly basis and Time Spent per Viewer is 84 minutes.