NDTV Imagine is all geared to launch the second channel from the group – Imagine Showbiz. The initiative is a 51:49 joint venture between NDTV Imagine and Cinestar Advertising. The 24-hour channel would focus on Bollywood business and entertainment.
NDTV Imagine officials informed that the idea of the channel was conceptualised last year, and that the decision was always to launch it in a JV format. Cinestar Advertising officials said that this JV brought the strengths of a broadcaster, a production company and of post-production to the table. The thought is that this would help in both the content of the channel, and the kind of solutions that could be provided to advertisers, including movie production houses that invest substantially on movie promotions these days.
The programming of the channel would be headed by Sonal Joshi, who has been Head of Entertainment at NDTV. The core team also includes Rahul Sethi, who was with MTV prior to joining Imagine Showbiz.
NDTV Imagine, the entertainment arm of NDTV Plc, is over seven months old now. The organisation has decided to go with the Imagine brand name for the new channel. “Imagine is the entertainment brand from NDTV and so that made sense,” explained Harsh Rohatgi, EVP, Revenue Management and New Ventures, NDTV Imagine.
The Bollywood programming space has channels like Zoom, which sees a significant amount of music and movies. The channel has been associated with shows around television programming and lifestyle programming that has covered aspects like dating and tourism, amongst other things. Arguably E-24, an entertainment news channel, also delves substantially on Bollywood. However, Rohatgi explained that there was no Bollywood-dedicated channel at present. Imagine Showbiz, which would bring both the glamour and the business of Bollywood to the screen, aims to fill this gap.
Rohatgi added, “The channel is for people who are passively interested in Bollywood, that is, people who enjoy Bollywood-related content, as also for the actively interested, that is, people from the film industry itself. It would be heavily programming driven. We are launching with 19 properties. We would begin with a channel and would subsequently move to the digital space to further engage consumers.”
Contiloe’s Abhimanyu Singh and Direct Access’ Premnath Rajagopalan, who joined hands to launch Cinestar Advertising, have been in the Bollywood trade for a decade now.
Singh said, “With the kind of expertise that this partnership brings to the table, there is a lot of content that would be created. We are very clear on tying up with the biggest films and entertainment initiatives.” Rajagopalan explained here, “We can tie up with movies in such a manner that we can work on shows devised around the concept of the film or even do reality-based shows. That is the kind of innovation that could be done on the channel.”
Rohatgi explained that the same rationale would apply to advertisers as well. “We can give brand propositions that are beyond the 30-second spots. There is enough scope of branded content and similar initiatives on the channel that would allow brands to do more than just conventional advertising,” he added.
Of the 19 properties that the channel is launching with, there are six long-format shows. Some of the launch shows include, ‘No Biz Like Showbiz’, ‘Full Timepass’, ‘Showbiz Up To Date’, ‘Angrezi Mein Kaise Kehte Hain’, ‘Baba’s Cross Connection’, ‘99 Films You Must Watch Before You Die’, ‘Crash Course’, and ‘Look Hot and Fit Like Your Star’, among others.