For Punjabis, PTC is a brand synonymous with Pride, Faith, Respect and Punjabiyat. The presence of Gurbani on our channels elicits a huge base of loyal viewers. The channels have so far been aggressive through Internet and social media. This year, we will be actively looking for opportunities of content availability on mediums beyond television. It is the demand for our programmes, both in India and abroad, which will enable us towards that side of the business.
Rajiee M Shinde, (Co-promoter) COO, PTC Network, is a seasoned media professional, who has nearly 15 years of experience behind her. She was earlier with the Zee Group in the capacity of Business Head of ETC Channel Punjabi and Zee Punjabi. She was also heading the programming division for Alpha ETC Punjabi (in the UK and the US). She began her career with Srishti Videocorp’s Channel Yes and then took over the promo division of Home TV (of Hindustan Times). She has been instrumental in launching live telecasts of events in various parts of India as well as abroad. Her biggest success has been organising big events in different parts of the world, including Trafalgar Square (London), New Zealand, the UAE, Canada, which were attended by top dignitaries of the country.
Shinde specialises in design and development of high-interest television software and entertainment events. Among the various reality talent hunt shows conceptualised and produced by her at PTC, the most prominent ones are PTC Punjabi Music Awards (in 2009, 2010, 2011), a felicitation of the greatest talent in the Punjabi music industry; PTC Punjabi Film Awards (in 2011 and 2012), the annual Punjabi Film Awards; Miss PTC Punjabi (in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011), a talent and beauty hunt for deserving Punjabi girls; and Voice of Punjab (in 2010 and 2011), a singing talent hunt show in Punjab and ‘Laughter Da Master’ (in 2011), a stand-up talent hunt show.
In conversation with exchange4media’s Shree Lahiri, Shinde speaks at length about the key properties of the PTC channels, content strategy, the Punjabi genre and what works for this genre...
Q. You are organising PTC Punjabi Film Awards and PTC Punjabi Music Awards in the near future. How will this be different from last year?
Punjabi film industry truly basked in the glory of recognition after the first annual Punjabi Film Awards that we conducted in January last year. We are proud to be the first ones to have conceptualised and executed Punjabi Film Awards at such a grand scale. The Awards ceremony saw stunning performances by Akshay Kumar, Anushka Sharma, Gurdas Maan, Harbhajan Maan, Jimmy Shergill, Hard Kaur, Neha Dhupia, Kimi Verma, Diljit, Gaurav Kakkar, Gavie Chahal, Manpreet Singh and Mohit Bhardwaj. Some of the veterans of the Punjabi film and music industry graced the Awards ceremony with their presence. These include revered names in the industry like Om Puri, Raza Muraad, Satish Kaul, Deep Dhillon, Gugu Gill, Manmohan Singh, Jaidev, Prem Chopra, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Kailash Kher, Preeti Sapru, Puneet Issar, Rama Vij, Malkit Singh, Satinder Sartaj, Jaspinder Narula, Sarabjeet Cheema, Jasbir Jassi, Akriti Kakkar, Shamsher Sandhu, Arya Babbar, Harish Verma, Shavinder Mahal, Gulzar Chahal, Rakesh Bedi, Sudhanshu Pandey and many more. Gurpreet Ghuggi and Divya Dutta had anchored the ceremony.
This year, the Awards will again see significant Bollywood presence. Needless to say, the entire Punjabi film & music industry is bound to be there. Gulshan Grover and Diljit will be anchoring the ceremony this year. Ali Zafar, Aditi Rao, Tusshhar Kapoor, Kulraj Randhawa, Sukhbir, Saleem and Surveen Chawla will be performing. The event will see presence of the newly-wed Ritesh-Genelia, Anupam Kher, Anita Raj, Prem Chopra, Kulbushan Kharbanda, Avtar Gill, Deep Dhillon, Tulip Joshi, Jaspinder Narula and many more.
The Punjabi Film Awards will be telecast live on PTC Punjabi on February 18. On the same day itself the telecast will happen in the US and Canada in their primetime.
Speaking of the Music Awards, the Punjabi industry has, over the years, shown incredible confidence in the credibility of the Awards by turning up in huge numbers at the Awards ceremonies. National and international Punjabi artists have enthralled audiences in the last few editions of PTC Punjabi Music Awards. Bollywood has given its nod. The young brigade of artists has been recognised by the industry. The deserving have been awarded and lauded for their work. Both technique as well as talent has been felicitated. Folk, pop, contemporary, fusion – all forms of music have been given a platform. Contributions of a lifetime have been recorded, inspiring the artists of today and immortalising heroes of yesterday. Music has been celebrated and how!
Over the years, the Music Awards ceremony has featured scintillating performances by Gurdas Mann, Sartaj, Diljit, Lehmber Hussainpuri, Hard Kaur, Jazzy B, Manmohan Waris, Kamal Heer, Sukshinder Shinda, Master Saleem, Miss Pooja, Isha Koppikar, Udita Goswami, Yana Gupta, Satinder Satti, etc. The previous editions of the events have been anchored by personalities like Gulshan Grover, Shekhar Suman, Gurpreet Ghuggi , Archana Puran Singh, Mona Singh, Upsasana Singh, Manish Paul and Rajeev Thakur.
Q. How do PTC Punjabi, PTC News and PTC Chak De plan to draw viewers?
PTC channels have been leaders in the Punjabi satellite scenario for the last five years. Watching live Gurbani from the Golden Temple and Nanded Gurudwara on our channels is a part of daily routine of Punjabis across the world. Our viewership success emanates from our capability of conducting live telecast of large scale events. Event management, including conceptualisation, artist coordination, production, sales & marketing, are taken care of in-house. Such is the precision of planning and execution that we air live telecast of practically all our events, an unparalleled example in the Indian television scenario.
Spurts in news viewership will always be happening or event led. It is because of the indepth regional coverage of news pertaining to local issues that PTC News today enjoys viewership greater than even national news channels in Punjab. PTC News today claims to have the most extensive reporter network in Punjab and Haryana. State of the art studios exist in Mohali as well as in New Delhi.
Music will continue to reign among the leading programming genres in Punjab for years to come. The Punjabi music industry creates humungous quantity of high quality television software every year. In the last couple of years, with the revival of the Punjabi film industry, Punjabi music has come even more in demand. The viewer in Punjab, especially the youth, is particularly addicted to the latest Punjabi music. It is this segment that promises a relentless loyalty to PTC Chak De.
Q. Who are the specific target audience for each of the channels - PTC Punjabi, PTC News and PTC Chak De?
PTC Punjabi is a family entertainment channel. PTC News caters primarily to 25+ Male irrespective of SEC. It is the youth of Punjab, especially males, who drive viewership of PTC Chak De.
Q. Please elucidate on the marketing strategies laid down for these three channels.
For Punjabis, PTC is a brand synonymous with Pride, Faith, Respect and Punjabiyat. The presence of Gurbani on our channels elicits a huge base of loyal viewers. From the feedback received from viewers across our various events, it is clear that Punjabi viewers share a deep emotional bond with PTC. The channels have so far been aggressive through Internet and social media. This year, we will be actively looking for opportunities of content availability on mediums beyond television. It is the demand for our programmes, both in India and abroad, which will enable us towards that side of the business.
Q. Tell us something about the programme initiatives introduced in the channels. How do they differ for each channel?
In the year 2011, we have added two new properties to our bouquet of offerings – ‘PTC Punjabi Film Awards’ and ‘Laughter Da Master’. Among the fastest growing language cinema in the country today, Punjabi cinema has achieved a predominant position in the field of Indian cinema, not only in the country but also across the globe. PTC Punjabi salutes and awards the immense talent and initiative undertaken by the Punjabi film industry in the year gone by through the PTC Punjabi Film Awards.
It is the ability to laugh over oneself and always look at the brighter side of life that has become synonymous with the Punjabi style of living. To those blessed with the powerful yet subtle knack to make others laugh, PTC Punjabi has provided a unique platform to showcase their talent and bring home the hilarity through its property ‘Laughter Da Master’.
Q. What is the current rating and ranking of the channel?
PTC is the No. 1 regional Punjabi network, enjoying more than 75 per cent share of the regional Punjabi genre for the last five years.
PTC Network has also launched PTC Punjabi in Canada, the US and Australia, catering to the South Asian Community.
Internationally, PTC Punjabi is available in the US on Dish Network. Channel No. 604. In Canada, the channel is available on Rogers on Channel No. 693 and Bell TV on Channel No. 825.
PTC Punjabi is available in Australia and New Zealand on Vision Asia at Channel No.12. It is also available on Konnect TV at Channel No. 03 in Australia. Apart from these, all three PTC channels are available on IPTV platform on a subscription basis through www.watchindia.tv.
Q. Apart from Punjab-centric news and current affairs, you have a bouquet of programmes in the Talent Hunt, Comedy, Musical, Travel Show, Bollywood News, Talk Shows, etc., genres. Which categories of programmes do better?
Apart from religious content, events, Punjabi music, regional sports and films rule the viewership charts. Kabaddi is undoubtedly huge in Punjab, and we have seen instances of Kabaddi World Cup matches beating popular national cricket tournaments in Punjab. In the coming years, the success of the Punjabi film industry is bound to give a new whiff to the Punjabi television industry as well. Punjab is slowly waking up to possibilities of Punjabi dubbed content on television, but significant success stories hardly exist.
The current sad state, however, is that urban measured Punjab, despite its hugely ingrained pride in Punjabiyat, devotes maximum time watching Hindi content. Only high quality Punjabi content may reverse that in times to come.