If Yashraj Films (YRF) is entering the television business, it has to do it in style. In its 38th year, YRF has launched its television division – YRF TV. The brainchild of Aditya Chopra, along with partners such as Raveena Kohli, YRF TV is creating a suite of television content. The first from this would be seen on Sony Entertainment Television beginning January 2010. While this is a big step for YRF TV, it is a significant step in the growth plans that Sony Entertainment Television has recently undertaken that has seen the channel GRPS grow from 80-odd to 180 odd in the last couple of months.
Sony’s step by step growth strategy
Earlier this year, Sony was floundering on the No 5 or even No 6 position amongst Hindi general entertainment channels with around 80-100 weekly GRPs. In the last few months, the channel has quietly undertaken a rescheduling strategy, which saw a mix of airing reruns of ‘CID’ and simultaneously launching new shows to grow its GRPs to 180-190 GRPs every week. The week 51 GRPs show 179 GRPs for Sony, keeping it on the number four position in Hindi GECs.
An interesting aspect is that a significant chunk of this is coming from its 12-year old show ‘CID’, whose even reruns has got the channel around 100 GRPs on an average every week. However, from the channel viewpoint, that barely makes a difference. After the slew of its new launches earlier in the year that included the likes of ‘Palampur Express’, ‘Bhaskar Bharti’ and ‘Ladies Special’, amongst others, failed to deliver any numbers, the first step in re-creating its growth strategy was to add more to the channel’s numbers. ‘CID’ helped Sony significantly in that.
The next key step has come in the form of YRF TV on Sony weekends. Sony picked five shows from the bouquet that YRF TV had to offer. These shows were chosen on the basis of the kind of target audience that they would attract. Reality show ‘Lift Kara De’ is targeted at a family TG, ‘Mahi Way’ and ‘Rishta.com’ on the female audience and the younger audience; ‘Seven’ on the youth TG and ‘Powder’ on the male TG.
The shows are scheduled from Friday to Sunday, 8.00 pm to 10.00 pm. Sony’s own properties like ‘Aahat’ would air after this time band with the intention of growing its weekend time band. Ajit Thakur, Business Head, Sony Entertainment Television explained that the decision to bring this new band on weekends was to play to the channel’s strengths. He said, “We are the number one channel on weekends. With this content, we would to be the clear leaders in that timeband.”
The strategy doesn’t sound very different from the initiatives that Sony was taking a few years back when its concentration on weekends was obvious. However, Sony had slipped on that count and now, according to Thakur, the idea is to once again restore Sony’s position in timebands and slots that it has traditionally been strong in, before taking the next steps.
The next steps would see another slew of launches beginning from February to May 2010, which would be more focussed in targeting smaller town TGs and female TGs. Driving the way forward for Sony now is the core team comprising Content Head Ajay Bhalwankar, Marketing Head Danish Khan, OAP Head Udayan Shukla and Research Head Falguni Sampat, which is led by Ajit Thakur and also Multi Screen Media COO, N P Singh.
YRF TV is here
Ajit Thakur described YRF TV as a New Year gift for Sony Entertainment Television and for YRF, this is the third key milestone. At a press event on December 22, 2009, Yash Chopra said that YRF was launched in September 1971 and marked its 25 year completion with ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’ in 1996. The next key milestone was entering the distribution business in India, and then internationally with ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’. The third key milestone for the company was in 2004 when YRF launched YRF Studios.
Chopra informed that the team led by Aditya Chopra has been working on the television project since 2008 and the efforts bore results now. He said, “So far, we were bringing audiences to the theatres, now we are taking our content to their homes. The team working on YRF TV is a very young team and our objective is to bring some difference to television content. A great idea needs a great partner and we found exactly that in Sony, with whom we have had a productive relation for many years now.”