Strategy Is the Name of the Game

In the words of, famous media personality, David Frost, “Television enables you to be entertained in your home by people you wouldn’t have in your home”. The operative word here is ‘home’. If you think carefully about what unites people from different age groups, belonging to different social strata and gender at many given points of time during the day, you will realize it is their appointment with their favourite shows on television. In a nutshell, television is that medium of addiction that brings people back home, be it for the FIFA world cup, the coverage of the general elections, the vigour of the IPL matches or any popular entertainment programme. But what goes behind making people from varied backgrounds with varied tastes get drawn to their TV sets? Surely, a multi pronged approach towards the programming of a particular television channel – in short, a programming strategy that might attract or distract eyeballs.Easier said than done? Here’s how the programming head of the General Entertainment channel, Colors, Ashwini Yardi, and her team created a successful strategy for their channel. “For GECs like Star, Zee, and Colors, programming is a different ball game as compared to a film channel because everything is original. You cannot be buying stuff but you have to make stuff. When we started Colors, the first thing was to draw an STT. STT is a strategic timetable, which you make according to the time slots. So lets say your show is going to start at 7 pm and is going to go till prime time 11-11:30 pm. Then you decide if its 7:00 pm from Monday-Friday what am I going to show? Is it going to be a soap? If it is a soap, then what kind of soap? If it is 7:30 pm then what is the soap that people like to watch at 7:30 pm and so on and so forth? So what strategy we used in Colors was that from 7-10 pm we would go with small town focus soaps.So if you see the program schedule of Colors, we have a very traditional soap at 7 which is more based on Vaishno Devi’s blessings and etc.; 7:30 is a dowry based show which is a small town based out of Lucknow and other parts of UP; and 8 o’clock is when we have the biggest show right now, Balika Vadhu, which is again based on a rural background and has a concept like child marriage. At 7:30 pm, we used a mythological like Krishna followed it by a couple of shows, which were a mix of rural and metro centric. What we did then was to move on to attract metro audience and we started something like Fear Factor which got in all the audience from metros and all the audience which were not GEC watchers. So everyone came to watch the 13 hot women and Akshay Kumar. So we got all the young boys to watch the women and we got all the young girls to watch Akshay Kumar. So that is how we started the channel, which really worked. So you need to start from the beginning of exactly what you want to do and then slot by slot decide what you are going to put where and then you design each show separately”.

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