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Sony TV to launch female-focused shows in the next three months: NP Singh

MUMBAI: Multi Screen Media’s flagship Hindi general entertainment channel Sony Entertainment Television, which is struggling to revive its lost ground, is going to have a prime focus on female audiences as it lines up an array of new shows within the next three months.

Currently at number six on the Hindi GEC leader board, the channel is trying a second attempt at rejigging its programming line-up to gain more traction.

MSM CEO NP Singh says that the 10–10:30 pm shows, namely ‘Maharana Pratap’ and ‘Itna Karo Na Mujhe Pyaar’, are performing well on the channel. The non-fiction property ‘Indian Idol Junior’ is also doing well apart from old faithfuls like ‘CID’, ‘CriNP-Singh-Interview02me Patrol’ and ‘Aahat’.

“Hanuman is now showing positive traction after the IPL. Towards the end of the month, we are launching ‘Suryaputra Karna’, which is produced by Swastik Productions. It has come together as a strong show and I am sure it will do well,” he explains.

While SET has tried to make its content more inclusive, some shows like ‘CID’ appeal more to males. However, Singh adds that shows like ‘Itna Karo Na Mujhe Pyaar’ are targeted towards females.

“Our objective is to get more women on our channel and therefore we have a new line-up that will have a greater appeal to female audiences,” he says.

Singh does not deny that SET has more of a male skew. He also admits that the shows they launched recently as part of their content revamp strategy may not have worked even though they were meant for female audiences.

Sony Pal

While SET is hoping to see more traction once it unveils the new line-up, the network’s third Hindi GEC Sony Pal is happy airing re-runs of popular shows from sister channels SAB and SET.

Pal replaced its original content by February, as it was not performing well. The channel has been airing re-runs for the past four to five months. While the channel officials had earlier stated that Pal would bring in original content soon, Singh states that they will continue with the present strategy for some more time.

“We will continue with that strategy for some more time till we reach a threshold where we can start introducing original content again on the channel. Our objective of launching the channel was to appeal to the Hindi heartland and Pal has been able to achieve that to a certain degree. With the repeat telecast of shows from Sony and SAB, we have been able to double the viewership on the channel and will continue following that strategy for some more time,” he says.

IPL 

Talking about his sports business, Singh adds that the company’s biggest sports property, the Indian Premier League (IPL), has done well in the eighth season in terms of both viewership and ad revenue.

He states that the previous season of the IPL was unique in the sense that it coincided with the elections and therefore no comparisons can be made between the seventh and eighth seasons.

Regarding revenue, Singh says, “Season 8 has seen over 20 per cent revenue growth compared to season 6.”

With respect to viewership, he states, “We have seen more than 20 per cent growth in absolute viewership over the last season.”

The network got the highest viewership from Hindi on Max and then from English, followed by the three regional languages – Tamil, Telugu and Bangla.

“During the IPL, HD has also done really well, which clearly shows a major growth from the viewership perspective. Naturally, revenues have also grown dramatically on HD. Hence, a lot of advertisers are asking for HD content,” Singh adds.

Though it did not sell the IPL language feeds separately, Singh says that the network is now trying to see if some language feeds can be sold separately from Hindi.

Sony Kix

Talking about the network’s second sports channel Sony Kix, the CEO says that the channel gives them the flexibility of having multiple language feeds.

“Over the past three years, we have aggregated a lot of our sports content that we are currently showcasing on Six and, in some cases, on Pix. Kix gives us another platform on which we can actually showcase content that was earlier on other channels of the network,” he mentions.

Singh reveals that the network is acquiring rights to two sports properties to be announced in the next couple of months.

Singh adds that if needed, he will use three to four network channels to showcase sport properties. “Right now, with the content that we have, for example NBA, we needed two channels and because we did not have a second sports channel, we used Pix in the early mornings to air some of those matches.”

Kix was launched with a strong focus on football properties, as the sport is becoming popular with the youth.

Talking about the programming on the channel, he says, “We have the best of football. We had FIFA last year and have FIFA again in 2018. Next year, Euro16 is coming up and we will have it on our network. Moreover, all the qualifiers leading up to the FIFA and Euro16 are all on the network. In 2017, we have the rights to U17 Football World Cup. We also have the Women’s World Cup this year. There are other properties which we are in the process of firming up at this stage.”

Film production

After tasting success with its fourth film ‘Piku’, MSM Motion Pictures has recently announced its fifth film. It is a biopic titled ‘Azhar’, a co-production with Balaji Motion Pictures. The film will release in May 2016.

Singh states that they will green light one or two more films in the next few months.