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ZEEL gets Shah Rukh Khan to drive &TV
MUMBAI: Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) has brought on board Bollywood’s badshaah star Shah Rukh Khan to drive its new Hindi general entertainment channel (GEC) &TV.
The 20-21 hours of original programming on the channel will include SRK’s game show ‘India Poochega: Sabse Shaana Kaun?’, a property ZEEL believes will bring instant visibility to the channel.
Launching in March, the channel sports a contemporary look and will feature progressive content with relatable stories to draw a unique set of viewers. Focusing on the Hindi-speaking markets, it will have a strong mix of fiction and non-fiction content along with marquee events and movies and will cater to the entire family.
Zee MD and CEO Punit Goenka said, “In 2015, we look at consolidating our position further in the business with &TV’s relatable stories, a unique experience and thus getting their own set of viewers. The aim is to increase our market share with strong consumer connect and multi-genre shows.”
Giving his reason for launching a new channel, Goenka said that while GEC consumption has increased by 15–20 per cent in the last two years, the fragmentation has also increased and mindsets have changed. “Thus, the loyal audiences of Zee TV may not be open to this kind of content experimentation which is edgier in nature. So we want to target the contemporary audiences with this channel.”
As reported first by TelevisionPost.com, the channel’s business will be headed by Rajesh Iyer, with Doris Dey as head of fiction, Sunanda Gupta Jenna as head of non-fiction and Rachin Khanijo as marketing head.
Iyer said, “It’s a highly cluttered environment, and the inspiration for the channel was the new-age Indian. We have seen a transformation in the mindset of people and our content will reflect that. &TV is a mainline GEC reflecting the new India.”
Asked if the channel will also compete fiercely with sibling Zee TV, Iyer cited the example of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams. “Yes, we will compete with Zee as well and will play to win; and to beat other networks, we will play doubles as well.”
As mentioned earlier, &TV will launch with 20–21 hours of original programming with its flagship non-fiction property being the game show ‘India Poochega: Sabse Shaana Kaun?’ launching along with the channel. Produced by Big Synergy, it has been adapted from an international format ‘Who’s Asking’ by Israel-based Armoza. The show will also mark the return of Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan to the small screen as host.
Aiming to challenge conventions, the show will see the common man don the role of the ‘asker’ as well as that of the ‘contestant’. While the askers will pose simple but smart questions, the contestants will demonstrate their street smartness to win the prize money.
Speaking about the distinction between its fiction and non-fiction shows and their respective placement on weekdays and weekends, Iyer said, “We have different plans with ‘India Poochega: Sabse Shaana Kaun’ and we might not place it on weekends.”
The channel unveiled four shows in the fiction space as part of its first phase. Produced by Saregama Productions, ‘Begusarai’ is a show presenting rustic India. It will present various facets of India that are yet unknown. Film-maker Tigmanshu Dhulia has been roped in to design the first look of the multi-starrer show.
Next up is a historical show ‘Razia Sultan’ produced by Swastik Productions. Set in the 13th century, the story has been penned by Mihir Bhuta with art direction by Omung Kumar.
The channel will delve into the comedy space with ‘Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hai’ produced by Edit II Productions. It will peek into the lanes of Kanpur, showcasing two neighbouring couples.
Shot in the metro of Kolkata is the soap ‘Badii Devrani’ by Shashi-Sumeet Productions. The family drama will bring out the essence of relationships.
&TV has also acquired the rights to the international singing reality show ‘The Voice’ that will be unveiled at a later stage.
Playing by the GEC rules, the channel is not particularly focusing on finite content but will also not stretch a story if it has a conclusive end, mentioned Iyer.
The team stressed that all the shows will have a strong male point of view. A lot of research was conducted in metros and LC1 towns to understand the meaning of contemporary India and bring shows catering to the concept.
The channel tune ‘Jashn Jeene Ka’ has been composed by the duo Sachin-Jigar, and &TV has launched three brand films to take the message across to viewers. Infectious has worked on the ad films while the packaging has been created by the Australian based agency Inkproject.
The packaging has been created taking inspiration from the brand philosophy of Jaise Hai Aap Waise Hai Hum – reflecting a piece of you – the progressive in you.
The concept features mirrored discs that travel through space and coincide with the symbol ‘&’ creating a spontaneous and joyous feeling. They explode like fire-works causing a chain reaction which is a metaphoric celebration.
Marketing and distribution
The marketing activities are set to commence soon and the channel is also getting a fairly positive response from brands, Iyer stated. The ad rates will be in line with all other Hindi GECs in the market.
In terms of distribution, the channel will be available across all cable and DTH platforms upon launch.