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Sony to increase primetime programming hours; launches two shows

MUMBAI: Sony Pictures Networks India will increase the primetime programming hours on its flagship channel Sony Entertainment Television (SET) to bring it on a par with rival GECs.

Currently, SET has 22 hours of original programming in a week compared to 35–44 hours of original programming on other GECs.

The network is planning to launch big-ticket fiction and non-fiction shows in the next 3–4 months to bridge that gap.

NP-Singh_CEO_INSIDE01“Sony has the least amount of original programming in the primetime. Other GECs have 35–44 hours of programming and we have 22 hours of programming,” SET business head Danish Khan told TelevisionPost.com.

“The first attempt would be to increase the hours of programming to have a very complete FPC. In the next 3–4 months, we will launch shows so that we have a compelling programming chart in the primetime. Once we have comparable hours of programming and a robust programming line-up, habits will build strongly and numbers will improve,” he added.

The network has begun beefing up its primetime by launching two new shows ‘Kuch Rang Pyar Ke Aise Bhi’ and ‘Ek Duje Ke Vaaste’ in the 9.30 and 10 pm slot respectively. The two shows will go on air from 29 February every Monday to Friday.

Khan said that the company would like to have a robust programming line-up from 7–12 pm on weekdays as well as weekends. The channel will also open up 7 pm very soon. “It is not going to happen overnight. It will happen one at a time,” he said with a note of caution.

Danish KhanThe launch of two new shows will aim to strengthen the 9.30–10 pm slots, as there was no strong regular programming in these slots for some time.

“With these two shows, we will have compelling content in those slots. We have ‘Hanuman’ at 8 and ‘Karn’ at 8.30, both of which are doing well. We have ‘Parvarish’, which we launched recently at 9 pm, then we have these two shows and then at 10.30 we start ‘Crime Patrol’,” he noted.

The channel will also work on weekend prime-time slots. “We will focus on some slots. Soon we will announce some of the weekend initiatives,” he said.

Without revealing much, Khan said that the network has planned a programming line-up of shows in fiction and non-fiction in the next 3–4 months.

SPN CEO NP Singh said that the ultimate goal is to be in the top two of Hindi GECs. “There is renewed focus on non-fiction at Sony. In next three months you will see some big-ticket non-fiction shows,” he stated.

He is also confident that the content and communication strategy put together by the network will resonate with the viewers.

On the new shows, Singh said that the 9.30 and 10 pm slots are very important for SET since its core urban audience watch TV from 8.30 onwards.

Khan said that the channel has gone back to the classical mode of storytelling with the two new shows where the focus is clearly on stories and characters. ‘Kuch Rang Pyar Ke Aise’ is produced by Beyond Dreams Production while ‘Ek Duje Ke Vaste’ is produced by Bindu Productions.

“Both the stories have finite storytelling with definite beginning, definite middle and definite end. It will launch strongly and it will take few weeks for word of mouth to spread. If the content is good, it will get talked about and we will get the right numbers,” he averred.

Both are long-term investment for us in terms of specific stories as well as of channel philosophy that we want to drive, he added.

Khan feels that the show ratings will peak in 4–6 weeks after launch.

The number of episodes of the two shows has not been decided. “We have started writing the screenplay now. How this story will convert into screenplay and the number of episodes is something we will figure out as we go,” he said.