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Sony to expand programming hrs, opens new slot with ‘Peshwa Bajirao’
MUMBAI: Having sorted its weekends, Hindi GEC Sony Entertainment Television (SET) is looking to strengthen its weekday programming by expanding its prime time to 6 pm.
The exercise will start on Monday with the 7.30 pm band. The 7 pm slot will get filled in April with the launch of a new show.
The strategy is to ramp up weekday programming by the first half of 2017 with some differentiated content. With the early prime time band, the channel plans to focus on smaller towns and target family audiences.
Said Sony Pictures Networks India CEO NP Singh, “We have strengthened our weekend programming, which is of 15 hours, whereas our weekday programming is of 27 and a half hours. With the strong weekend, Sony has climbed up the charts and now ranks third in the urban Hindi-speaking market. Eventually, our objective for the weekday is to have programming from 6 pm to 11.30 or 12 pm.”
Sony will inaugurate its early prime time band with the launch of ‘Peshwa Bajirao’, a historical show which will air at 7.30 pm, every Monday to Friday, from 23 January.
Currently, the channel has three hours of programming on weekdays, featuring four shows—‘Sankatmochan Mahabali Hanuman’, ‘Beyhadh’, ‘Kuch Rang Pyaar Ke Aise Bhi’ and ‘Crime Patrol Satark’. With the launch of the early prime time, the channel seeks to expand its weekly programming to about five hours.
Produced by Sphere Origins, ‘Peshwa Bajirao’ highlights the life and time of India’s only undefeated warrior—Peshwa Bajirao. The channel has already locked in three primary sponsors, namely Vicco Vajradanti, Quick Heal and Macho.
Speaking about the new show and the expansion to early prime time, SET EVP and business head Danish Khan said, “This is the first time that Sony is expanding to early prime time, so we thought of putting our best foot forward with ‘Peshwa Bajirao’. We wanted to expand our prime time with highly differentiated product. Also, Bajirao is for family viewing as it has huge relevance for females and kids. A large part of India starts watching GEC early in the evening. Unfortunately, Sony didn’t have any shows between 6 and 8 pm, and now that we are expanding to an early band, we want to start with the best.”
Additionally, the channel is developing a couple of shows focusing on differentiated content and intends to open the 7-pm slot by April. One of the shows lined up is ‘Moh Moh Ke Dhaage’, produced by Rahul Tewary.
As SET is expanding to early prime time, it will face some stiff competition from the likes of Zee TV, Star Plus and Colors, who have already formulated their base in this time band with some popular series.
Sony’s ‘Peshwa Bajirao’ will have to compete against popular shows like Colors’ ‘Sasural Simar Ka’, Star Plus’ ‘Yeh hai Mohabbatein’ and Zee TV’s ‘Jamai Raja’. While the other three are family dramas, ‘Peshwa Bajirao’ has an advantage of being an unexplored historical story, which might act as an intriguing factor for the audience.
SET’s initial strategy was to build the weekend and then focus on weekday programming. With ‘Indian Idol 9’, ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’, ‘CID’ and ‘Crime Patrol’, the weekends are finally sorted. The channel has opened its 8 pm weekend slot for talent-focused shows. With the help of ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’ and kids dance reality show ‘Super Dancer,’ the channel has finally succeeded in boosting its ranking on the BARC charts. Even in weekly programming, ‘Beyhadh’ and ‘Kuch Rang Pyar Ke Aise Bhi’ are doing well for the channel, Khan said.