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Turning around Sony is NP Singh’s first priority as CEO

MUMBAI: NP Singh, the new CEO of Multi Screen Media, has set himself the challenge of turning around Sony Entertainment Television (SET), the company’s flagship channel.

NP-Singh-SonyIn a recent interaction before assuming his new position, NP Singh told TelevisionPost.com that his top priority in 2014 would be SET.

“Priority No. 1 is to turn the flagship channel around. Focus will be on getting the right fiction content that resonates with the viewer so as to build audience loyalty and get ratings in a cost-effective manner,” Singh said.

For SET, which was one of the top four Hindi general entertainment channels (GECs) in 2012, last year proved to be one of the most challenging as its viewership started dwindling. While 2013 started off reasonably well, with the expansion of the universe and inclusion of more LC1 markets, the ratings of SET were adversely affected. Many of its fiction shows also did not work well.

Admitting that the inclusion of LC1 markets has impacted SET, which has a more urban image, he said: “SET has always been seen to be appealing more to SEC ABC viewers in 1 million plus towns. Some of our content did not resonate well with the LC1 audiences.”

Singh, however, ruled out any change in the channel’s positioning. “We don’t want to move away from the current positioning, but we will try to make our content a little more inclusive and accessible to the smaller towns as well. The objective would be to retain our current viewership and hook the smaller towns of the country,” he said.

Singh’s second challenge will be to grow the sports channel Six. Though MSM has the most lucrative cricket property Indian Premier League, it will need to acquire more. Singh said that there would be a few more announcements in the near future. “There are some properties that we will announce soon. Six is a sports entertainment channel and we will be bringing in a lot of new sports properties to the viewers.”

Since MSM’s other channels are doing well, they do not seem to need too much of Singh’s attention. SAB, MSM’s second Hindi GEC, has performed exceptionally well in 2013. “It has consolidated viewership in 2013 and there will be new show launches, stronger weekend properties and opening up of new time bands during the year,” Singh said.

Hindi movie channel Max has also performed strongly in the year. “For Max, we are acquiring all the top movies. We will renew our big libraries and will make the content even stronger.”

Max is competing in a genre which is getting fragmented, without any growth in the universe. “That is a challenge, but we have been investing a lot to keep it as a strong No. 1 player in the market,” Singh said.

A big success story for the group was Pix during the year. “A channel which has been at No. 3 and 4 has become a strong No. 2. We have made investments in the channel, which are showing results. We will continue that momentum. The objective is to consolidate our position and then challenge the leader,” he added.

MSM’s music channel Mix has also grown. “It became the No. 1 channel in its genre in the latter half of 2013. This is not a very easy genre. It’s not growing and is highly fragmented. Our focus will be to make Mix stronger,” he said.

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