‘We aim to sustain our leadership position in the premium lifestyle genre’

Launched in June 2014, Fox Life claims to be the leader in the premium lifestyle channel. The channel recently underwent a brand and content refresh in order to remain in tune with the changes in the category. The channel has also taken a new tagline ‘Never Stop’ which is a way to remind them that there is always more to do, learn, experience and share.

TelevisionPost.com’s Ashwin Pinto caught up with National Geographic and Fox Networks Group India business head Swati Mohan to talk about the idea behind the refresh, the evolution of the lifestyle genre, and the plans to grow the channel.

Excerpts:

What was the thought behind rebranding Fox Life?

Fox Life has been the leader in the premium lifestyle genre for the last 3.5 years since it launched back in June 2014. As leaders, it is important to keep upping the game and stay ahead of the curve with our ever-evolving and much more exposed consumers today.

As a channel brand, we have packaged a new look, a refreshed content line up and philosophy that we feel, perfectly captures the growing need and consumption of lifestyle experiences for our premium consumers today. The new tagline of ‘Never Stop’ aims to inspire our viewers to continue to seek those extraordinary and memorable experiences that make life worth living!

What does the tagline ‘Never Stop’ stand for?

The new tagline of ‘Never Stop’ aims to inspire our viewers to continue to seek those extraordinary and memorable experiences that make life worth living! As our viewers evolve, we continue to push ourselves to continue to be their inspiration to never ‘be done’, inspiring them to go beyond the ordinary and never stop wanting more from life.

How long did the exercise take and what is the difference now in the channel compared to the past?

Our decisions on any brand or content refresh are based on deep routed consumer insights and trends, which is something that is on-going research. This, we feel, has been responsible for our continued leadership, as well as the continued demand of associations from like-minded advertisers.

Today, the sheer exposure levels of our consumers, combined with the ease of access to information and experiences around the world, have surely led to the evolution of their expectation from all lifestyle brands in their life, in any category – be it a luxury car, a weekend getaway or even their favourite lifestyle channel.

Combine that with rising incomes, the staggering growth in the number of outbound travelers from India or even the number of restaurants in multiple cuisines that open on weekly basis in the country. All of this clearly indicates that people are looking for unique and multiple lifestyle experiences – and we were sure that we were going to provide it to them in the form of new content; both international and locally produced, a new brand packaging and look that matches their global outlook and a philosophy that ties it all together.

From a viewership and revenue perspective what goals have been set?

We continue to be the leaders in the lifestyle genre and we surely aim to sustain that position by feeding the consumer’s growing hunger to know more, explore more and want more from their life. We are confident that we will continue to appeal to advertisers as their preferred destination to reach out to the premium consumer.

Could you talk about the tentpole properties that have been lined up?

Kicking off the brand refresh is our latest India original show, ‘Masters of Taste with Gary Mehigan’. The 15-part series brings him to India to meet the top chefs in the country to get inspired by and learn from and get an up-close look at some of their recipes, styles, and techniques. Apart from that, we are upping the game in Food and entertainment with ‘The F Word with Gordon Ramsay’, extending our range of glamour and style with ‘Amazing Hotels’, ‘Style Factory’ and ‘Inside Dior’, travel adventures and exploration with a new season of ‘Great Escape 3’ and then a special peek inside Indian celebrity homes with ‘Design HQ’.

Is there going to be more of a focus on food and chefs? Is it fair to say that food commands a disproportionate share of the lifestyle genre?

While we have some really exciting series lined up on food, we take great pride in having a very balanced offering on the lifestyle that covers genres ranging from food, style, travel, décor and even start-ups. We plan to continue that balance and perhaps even include newer spaces, if possible!

Having said that – yes, Food is certainly a key part of the lifestyle genre and drives a lot of interest. Though, the manner in which Fox Life portrays it captures it as a more experiential journey for our hosts, as well as the viewer at home. This has been a distinctive attribute of content across genres for us, and something that serves as clear filter on content – whether acquired or produced.

To what extent will the amount of local content grow on the channel this year?

As a network, we started the foray into English original premium lifestyle content before many others. Over the past few years we have had multiple successful franchises – be it Twist of Taste on food, Great Escape on Travel & Adventure, or Design HQ on Home décor – just to name a few. Our newest (and what we are kicking off this re-brand with) is Masters of Taste with renowned chef Gary Mehigan, which we think is going to be pretty special.

Our focus on high production values has managed to have these shows on to a global stage, and so they have been airing across many countries and platforms worldwide.

Is Fox Life looking at branded content?

Apart from providing a great connect with our viewer, we provide amazing and organic opportunities for like-minded advertisers to associate, integrate their brands and hence effectively reach out to and engage a premium consumer base. So yes, branded content is absolutely a focus area for us and we’ve had some great success in working out solutions for advertisers across the long form, short form for both TV and digital.

We are mindful though, that the consumer today can sense a plug from a mile away, and so we take great care in weaving in a product or brand message for it to match the character personality and show storyline.

Is Fox Life on the premium pack of Hotstar? Is Fox Life looking to create digital exclusives around its shows?

Clearly, there is a very strong need to have a content, distribution and communication strategy for a digital consumer today, and that we most definitely have. Whether being able to have our content accessed on the go and anytime (Fox Life content is available on the country’s largest OTT platform – Hotstar), to cater to the growing advertiser need to associate and leverage such content.

If it’s about giving people a chance to interact with the content and the brand in a like-minded community through other engaging formats, then we have the largest social media footprint in the category. And it is important to mention that none of this has taken away from our leadership on linear television, and so we are proud to have built an effective and relevant eco-system for our content and brand.

How difficult was 2017 with GST and demonetisation for you? What do you learn from a difficult year?

The fact that 2017 was not such a good year in terms of growth for the entire industry is well known. But then there have been some great years as well. From what reports tell us, there is expected to be a healthy growth in TV revenues in 2018 – and the current discussions assure us that we will continue to aspire to top that number, just as we have with the viewership.

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