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Niche channels experiment with lifestyle programming

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Niche channels experiment with lifestyle programming

The year 2004 might had begun with kids’ channels making all the noise but the limelight is shared by lifestyle towards the later half. While the Indian television has seen the launch of channels like Discovery Travel and Living catering to lifestyle, existing channels like AXN and The History Channel are also testing the genre.

While for The History Channel, the experiment went on-air almost four weeks back with ‘Lifestyle dot TV’ that takes a look into the lives of the glamour and fashion world, for AXN, the experiment comes in the form of a new half-hour show, ‘Hong Kong Bollywood Odyssey’. ‘Lifestyle dot TV’ is placed in the 10 pm slot on Saturday and Sunday and come November 27, ‘Hong Kong Bollywood Odyssey’ would be seen on Saturdays at 10.30 pm slot, which is essentially the primetime slots for both channels.

Both the shows are looking at the younger audience of the upper SECs. Sharing more on AXN’s initiative, the channel’s VP, Marketing and Creative Services, Gregory Ho explains, “This is the first time we are trying something like this and bringing it in this slot means that we are giving the initiative our best push.”

The channel has joined hands with the Hong Kong Tourism Board for this show. The programme, hosted by Diana Hayden will take viewers to locations in Hong Kong, bringing out the Hong Kong – Bollywood connect.

An attempt to cater to lifestyle programming was seen earlier from Discovery as well, when the entity decided to float a complete channel with lifestyle programming. “There is a strong emerging market for this kind of programming,” shares Charath Narsimhan, Marketing Head, The History Channel, “We see huge potential here and the feedback we have so far for the lifestyle slot is very positive. We have managed to rope in new advertisers like Bacardi due to this step.”

What is interesting here is that the channels have different definitions for lifestyle. “It is an offering, which though is different from whatever else you offer but still has to stay true to the nature of the channel,” says Ho, “which is why you will see that our programme maintains the AXN energy level and a fast pace.”

“Lifestyle is following something you believe in and that is what we are bringing to our audience keeping the brand essence in consideration,” adds Narsimhan, “There is an opportunity in addressing the need for the segment and that is what this whole slot is about.”

While both the channels haven’t gone overboard in promoting the respective initiatives above the line, they express that they would gauge the response to see how to take the initiative forward. For The History Channel, the slot is on-air up to June 2005, at least. However, the channel will strengthen the slot and would even promote it further after it has tested it for some more time, which is the case with AXN as well.


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