With less than a month away to hit the tube, StarOne is preparing to unveil its offerings to the media. Scheduled for a November 1 launch, the channel has organised an upfront presentation of offering to select clients and agencies on October 7. The programming is in place, the target has been decided and the moves are planned. While STAR India intends to eat into the pie of the likes of Sony Entertainment Television, many believe that the elder sibling STAR Plus will not be spared either.
In the initial stages of planning of the channel, the target decided was the SEC A 15-34 in the Hindi speaking market. The channel has tweaked the target a little and it is now aiming at the SEC AB 12-44. Concentrating on markets of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, the channel is also looking into the 10-lakh-plus Hindi speaking towns. As far as programming is concerned, StarOne is coming up with 21 new shows. The primetime planned currently is 7 pm to 11.30 pm.
The Opening Season
The communication of the channel gives the message that the programming is meant for the Indian viewer who is bored with the current content seen on the television. In an attempt to offer variety on the channel, the content team has divided the line-up in seven genres comprising action, comedy, drama, youth-oriented shows, game or format shows, lifestyle and original movies made for television screening.
To get a glimpse, programmes like UTV's Special Squad and Family Business, Rose A/V's Guns 'n Roses make for action programming. The 'Khichdi' producer Hats Off Production also comes on the channel with the next session of the show, titled 'Instant Khichdi'. In Jay Leno style, 'The Great Indian Comedy Show' by Contiloe Productions will also be seen on the channel.
Other attempts at fresh kind of programming will be seen in the form of Humming Bird's 'Pyaar Ki Kashti Mein', BAG Films' legal drama 'Siddhartha', Sagar Arts' 'Hotel Kingston House' and a musical telenovella 'Remix'. The channel has also planned on dubbed animation content just prior to its primetime.
The channel has its share of game shows in the form of Synergy's 'Bluff Master' and Contiloe's 'He-Man'. Apart from these, the likes of 'Dil Kya Chahta Hai', 'Men Mange More' and 'Cook Na Kaho', which concentrates on tips for male viewers in regards to cooking and housekeeping, accentuate the channel's intent on tapping on the male audience. Add to this, lifestyle show 'Body and Soul', travel show 'Exotica', a fitness show and a house keeping show complete StarOne's programming line-up.
The only ingredient left is original movies made for television, which are largely divided between the mentioned production houses complete StarOne content.
If the programming is looked into more closely, given the attempt to hire fresh faces, outdoor and outstation shooting and investing extensively in the look and feel of the channel, STAR India officials have not compromised on any aspect of the channel.
A noteworthy aspect here is that, as is currently seen on STAR Plus or even on Sony, a substantial number of the shows are adaptations of international works like 'Love Boat', 'Dirty Rotten Cheater' and 'Man O' Man'. Though Balaji Telefilms is in the process of developing two properties for the channel, none will be seen in the opening season.
The Initial Reaction
StarOne is surely looking at luring its viewers and advertisers in differentiated ways. The upcoming presentation of programming is an effort in this direction. The channel will release its ad rates on the occasion. However, reliable sources share that the rates are positioned slightly higher than that of Sony Entertainment Television.
If expert comments are anything to go by, the channel so far, is seen positively. Sharing more on this, Shashi Sinha, Executive Director, Lodestar Media, expresses that there is a need for this kind of offering. "Most of the clients share with us that they want to avoid the 'Kyunki' kind of programming. They want more high-class products that aim at the younger TG," says Sinha.
Seconding that GroupM's Hiren Pandit adds, "There always is space for such an offering, especially as something like this doesn't exist on television currently.
And what do they think about StarOne? "It is surely an upmarket brand. Also, for the channel it is a smart move, as where the programming looks at a selective TG, it has been given a mass flavour, which means that it should draw numbers, provided they get the distribution right too," comments Sinha.
Who do they see as a possible competitor? "I think it will crane the upper end of STAR Plus and the lower tiers of the news and movie channels. They are slicing the market, creating a niche. But given that STAR Plus takes in substantial chunk of ad budgets, it will take in quite a lot from there itself," Sinha observes, "However, even if there is cannibalisation, it will protect them for the future, as channels like Sony were managing these kinds of target."
All said, despite the positive vibes towards the channel, the industry is still waiting to see the numbers before they decide if they should substitute the likes of Sony and Zee with StarOne.