Colors has seen a dream run in the last six months, and the channel is already busy with its 2009 plans to get into the ideal situation where it “crosses over the market leader Star Plus”. Monetisation is key on the channel’s agenda, and in addition to bringing in more properties, the channel has other growth plans as well for the year.
The channel officials are meeting with advertisers with the entire line-up of key shows for 2009. This year, Colors has gone a step ahead and would be premiering movies on the channel instead of just showing the second run like it had last year. Rajesh Kamat, CEO, Colors, believes that it makes more sense to monetise first run movies on a channel of “300-GRP base” than a new channel.
Colors is also looking at beginning feeds in international markets such as the US, UK, Middle East and Africa. It is also understood that the channel is actively planning on going pay soon. Speaking on this, Kamat said, “We believe that the channel is already at a threshold level, where it is moving from push to pull, and we are talking to people on this already.”
The Year of Crossing Over
Kamat is of the opinion that even as the ideal situation would be to cross over the leader, this year definitely is about a tough fight in the genre and a situation of no clear leaders. “Everyone is looking at widening the gap, and what we are seeing is that even the spikes on a particular programme or special can do it – the big question to watch out for is who would be able to increase their numbers to change the competitive equations,” he added.
Kamat further said, “In the current situation, the reach of our channel is higher than any other channel, and that means that my plan builds a faster reach, if not equal to the leader, and we are gunning for that kind of revenues as well.”
Is Colors worried about IPL? Kamat replied, “We are expecting a 10-15 per cent dip in ratings that the channels had seen in the first season, and in a 300-GRP base channel, that would not make much of a difference.” Kamat is also quick to add that from a revenue standpoint, elections are also around the corner, and that would help in injecting funds in the system.
One aspect that the channel would refrain from doing is getting title sponsors for its fiction shows. Kamat said, “I don’t think it makes sense to open every property on a channel for title ownership. Fiction shows can go on and on, and they are the bread and butter of the channel. I don’t think you would want to give away the ownership of a show.”
At present, Colors has around 23 hours of original programming in a week in comparison to the 38-40 hours of programming of Star Plus. The channel is looking at adding to this.
The Content Ammunition for 2009
On the rationale behind following the international content upfront practice, Kamat said that the objective was to be able to give a guarantee to advertisers that the channel had its act for the year in place. Some of the shows include ‘Lado’, which takes up the cause of female infanticide; ‘Mere Ghar Aayi Ek Nanhi Pari’, from the DJ stable; international format show ‘India’s Got Talent’; second season of ‘Fear Factor Khatron Ke Khiladi’; second season of ‘Bade Miya Chote Miya’; Season 3 of ‘Bigg Boss’, among others.
For the weekends, the channel is looking at Balaji’s ‘Koi Aane Ko Hai’, which is planned as a seasonal show, too, where after the first six months the show will take a break. The show borders on the horror genre and is based on “real incidents”, according to Colors’ content head, Ashvini Yardi. “This is the first time we would be doing seasons for a fiction show,” elaborated Yardi.
The movie line-up on the channel include sibling company’s ‘Ghajini’, ‘Jaane Tu Ya Na Jaane Na’, ‘Kidnap’ and ‘Sarkar Raj’, that are coming in the Mast Movie World TV Premiere band on the channel. By June, the channel is also looking at beginning an afternoon content slot, as well as another set of programmes for that band.
From its first line-up of programming, Colors would be wrapping up ‘Mohe Rang De’ soon.
As per Yardi, the next show to watch out for was ‘Lado’. But after ‘Balika Vadhu’, isn’t there too much regression on television with these shows. Yardi explained, “These are shows that are sending out a social message. If they can help in any way in curbing these practices, I would see it as progression, and not regression. These shows are more difficult to do, since there is a responsibility when you are getting into something like this.”