Following the exit of its COO, Purnendu Bose, who was also doubling up as the programming chief of the channel, Hungama TV has identified UTV Creative Director, Zarina Mehta as the new official to take the programming reins of the channel. Already in her new role as Director, Programming, Mehta has earmarked the key areas, where she will focus in the days to come.
Giving a simple rationale behind the areas that the new programming head has decided to focus on, Mehta said, "We are a general entertainment channel for kids and that means we have to give them fiction, non-fiction, local fiction and local non-fiction, along with animation and movies. These are our key deliverables and we have to work on each to strengthen our position."
"My focus is primarily to create strong time-bands for the channel. Based on the feedback from our Captains (Hungama kids' Board of Directors), the first thing we understand is that dailies work. Consequently, I am focussing at the live action band to have three shows, Monday to Thursday. Of these, one would be a new show," added Mehta.
Even though Mehta has to still decide on this new show and the exact timing of this band, she said that it would be in the 6.00 to 8.00 pm region focussing on the 10 to 14 years old, falling in the local fiction genre. Explaining more on the move, she said, "Dailies give you stickiness, loyalty and appointment viewing."
The second area of focus would be the local non-fiction band on the weekends. With Full Toss on Sundays and Gol Gol Ghulam on Saturdays and Sundays in the 4.30 band, the channel plans to extend the show to the on-ground level. "We will exploit these shows further. We will take Full Toss to the on-ground with interesting off-air, multiple city activity in the month of April itself. For Gol Gol Ghulam, we do it after the rains. We have deliberately planned it in a phased-out manner to ensure the awareness around the brand," said Mehta,
This next area is the 4.00 pm to 6.00 pm band where from Monday to Friday, the channel will house animation. Shows like 'Yugi oh', 'Doremon' and 'Sonic X', are planned here and the focus is on the 4-14 years old.
The morning 10.00 am to 1.00 pm band will be on the 4 to 9 years old housing a mix of animation and live action mixed. The shows here include the likes of 'Puroro', 'Arthur' and 'Martin Morning'. And add to these the Hindi movies band, which has Dil Chahta Hai coming up next.
The channel is initiating all these changes in the mid-April and is toying with the brand name 'Holiday Hungama'. The on-ground initiative 'Captain's Hunt' makes a come back this year and will see a higher share of voice than it had seen in its first year.
"We have already achieved the number two positioning in primetime. Last week Bhoot.com rated as high as 1.17 and this is very encouraging. Our connectivity has improved greatly. In all, we are in a very good position presently and I have to just take that forward," said Mehta.
Bose's decision to move on must not have been an easy one on the channel, given that it needs all the attention it can get in these days when the kids programming genre per se is still finding its footing on Indian television. Mehta taking care of the content duties is nothing but good news for the channel.