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Code SP2: Industry abuzz about Star’s Hindi youth channel, channel says just rumours

19-April-2004
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Code SP2: Industry abuzz about Star’s Hindi youth channel, channel says just rumours

Success can sometimes be a problem and STAR Plus faces that problem. The current content line-up poses two predicaments for the channel. First, sizeable quantity of similar saas-bahu programming that doesn’t address the upcoming generation of viewers. Second, there are barely any slots on the channel left to commission good new programmes. But now the network has a solution. STAR India has decided to launch a sibling, positioned as a youth general entertainment channel, currently coded SP2.

What does code SP2 stand for?

Industry sources inform that SP2, Star Plus 2, would be the Hindi version of Star World in terms of programming. The channel’s name isn’t confirmed yet but it should be on air in another six months. SP2 aims at complementing Star Plus. It is designed to address other kinds of genres that are currently minimal or not there on Star Plus. Though scheduling will be done only after the programmes are commissioned, word is that the channel will be devoid of dailies.

Sources also indicate that Ravi Menon is brought on board primarily to handle SP2. Menon was an Executive Producer on Kaun Banega Crorepati. He quit STAR post that to join Sony Entertainment Television only to come back to the leader. He is reporting to Deepak Segal, Sr VP, Content and Communication, Star India for SP2. Currently, the channel is in talks with various production houses to get the right content.

With SP2 coming in, STAR gets a segregated youth target. The launch of STAR Classic in mid May brings it on the free to airspace as well, even though the channel will only show old STAR properties. If STAR Kidz gets in place soon, the network will successfully graduate from having special programmes for different TGs to special channels for different TGs.

On a broader note, SP2’s positioning and timing are both very significant for the growth of Indian television. FMCG brands have been television’s high spenders. Since they primarily targeted housewives, current programming too largely targets them. However, India is seeing a substantial increase in its youth audience. The evolution of the Indian viewer, hence will demand a different tone of programming.

If SP2 delivers the kind of content that the next generation of viewers seek, chances of channels like Sony, which too position themselves as youth entertainment, to increase their numbers will decrease. The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious. But possibilities have become obvious now – the question is who addresses it better first.

Though industry sources claim the channel indeed is on the anvil, Sameer Nair, COO, STAR India denies it, “There is no truth to this. I think every time we commission a new programme, people think that we are launching a new channel.” About Menon’s role in the organisation, he says, “He is working with us on developing new shows for STAR Plus.”

Well, come September we would know a lot more about SP2. Keep watching this space, we would keep you abreast of the situation.

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