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&TV gears up to fight the GEC game; stocks up content arsenal
MUMBAI: With an aim to strengthen its content offering and increase viewership, &TV, the seven-month-old Hindi GEC from Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL), is set to give a push to its fiction line-up with four new shows.
The channel, which has seen decent growth in its viewership but is yet to enter the big league of the GECs, is now looking at aggressively building on programming and the channel business head Rajesh Iyer is the man with the mission.
Iyer is ready to take the hard decisions, whether it is to pull the plug on a non-performing show, or to rope in a new fiction head (Vikas Gupta) from a youth channel.
Incidentally, all the four shows that the channel has lined up are from completely different genres—fantasy, horror, socio-mythological, as well as a young romantic drama from soap queen Ekta Kapoor.
“These four shows are our immediate launches and the idea was to bring variety and differentiated content. Providing variety remains to be key for &TV. Our aim is to offer differentiated content as it helps to increase sampling,” Iyer told TelevisionPost.com
First up from the channel is ‘Ye Kahan Aa Gaye Hum’, produced by Balaji Telefilms. This is also Ekta Kapoor’s first show for the channel. It will occupy the weekday (Monday–Friday) primetime slot of 9.30 pm from 26 October, replacing historical show ‘Razia Sultan’.
“’Yeh Kahaan Aa Gaye Hum’ is our first Balaji show and the idea was to get Ekta, a big name with a big show and popular stars. We feel that this romantic story will resonate well with the young audiences,” explains Iyer.
‘Yeh Kahan Aa Gaye Hum’ is a tale of friendship, love, trust, betrayal and more. It revolves around Rahul Sabharwal, who is a successful singer and one of the many reasons behind the success of his father’s music empire. A simple homebody, Rahul has an image of being arrogant and uncaring, whereas in real life he is the complete opposite. A strong-willed girl, Maanvi is a simple girl and the pride of her parents. Singing is in her genes and she has been trained under her father’s watchful eyes in classical music. Maanvi loves her family and unlike other girls her age, she does not consider Rahul a great singer. The show explores what happens when their paths cross.
The channel has already roped in Chings and Multani Chavanprash as the co-powered by sponsors for the show.
For the second show, ‘Darr… Sabko Lagta Hai’, &TV will create a new weekend slot. The channel has roped in Bollywood actress Bipasha Basu as the narrator.
Launching on 31 October, the show will air every Saturday and Sunday at 10 pm, strengthening channel’s weekends programming. The channel airs game show ‘Deal or No Deal’ at 8 pm, followed by the investigative series ‘Agent Raghav: Crime Branch’ at 9 pm.
Produced by Reel Life Entertainment, ‘Darr… Sabko Lagta Hai’ is an episodic horror series featuring stories about the paranormal, supernatural, spirits, ghosts and the unseen. Helmed by Raj and DK of ‘Go Goa Gone’ fame, the show with a contemporary approach will mark the TV debut of Basu, who will host each story presented as short films.
Iyer stated, “In terms of consumption, horror as a genre has mass appeal. While we have roped in Bipasha Basu as the host of the show, ‘Darr Sabko Lagta Hai’ will also see various popular actors and directors. We feel we have all the right ingredients to enhance our weekend band with the show.”
Aiming to bring in more variety and differentiated programming to its line-up, the channel will launch a fantasy saga titled ‘Adhuri Kahani Humari’ produced by Four Lions Films. A story of reincarnation and love, the show will launch on 16 November, airing at 7.30 pm from Monday to Friday. It will replace the ongoing ‘Badii Devrani’ in the early primetime slot.
“While we are opening a new slot on weekends with ‘Darr Sabko Lagta Hai’, we are replacing two of our current weekday shows ‘Razia Sultan’ and ‘Badii Devrani’ with ‘Yeh Kahaan Aa Gaye Hum’ and ‘Adhuri Kahaani Hamari’ respectively. The intent is to increase original programming on the channel,” he added.
The fourth show from the channel will be a socio-mytho show titled ‘Santoshi Maa’. Produced by Rashmi Sharma Productions, the show will focus on the belief of a devotee in Maa Santoshi and how the goddess helps her overcome obstacles in life.
The launch date and time slot of the show have not been finalised yet. Iyer stated that they have positioned the show as a ‘socio-mytho’, a new genre, as they did not want to bring the show as a full-blown mythology. The aim, he says, is to connect with the youth viewers.
Two months ago, &TV had roped in Gupta as the new weekday programming head to drive the programming on the channel. With several new fiction launches on the anvil, the channel will gradually focus on the non-fiction weekend line-up as well, as ‘Deal or No Deal’ culminates in December.
Presently, the channel’s viewers comprise 45 per cent males and 55 per cent females, stated Iyer. While there is no particular skew, the channel is also working on establishing its positioning in the crowded Hindi GEC market.
“As a brand, we are progressive, contemporary and we will continue with this philosophy going forward,” Iyer asserted.