Launched in September 2007, NDTV Good Times is the flagship channel of NDTV Lifestyle, part of the NDTV Group. NDTV Good Times’ programming lineup covers every aspect of the lifestyle genre to portray and cater to an increasingly global India.
Smeeta Chakrabarti has been with NDTV since inception and has handled production of its pioneering shows and channels. In her role as CEO of NDTV Lifestyle, Chakrabarti is responsible for the day-to-day channel operations, the company’s effective growth management and expansion of its lifestyle business.
In conversation with exchange4media, Chakrabarti speaks about NDTV Good Times completing five years…
What have been the main landmarks in the five-year journey of NDTV Good Times?
Basically, we are India’s first lifestyle channel. Before we came in, there were only international lifestyle channels. We felt that when it comes to Indian culture and lifestyle – be it the food or the weddings or the customs and traditions – we have something different to offer and we could teach the world a thing or two. Our programmes like ‘Big Fat Indian Wedding’ have done that.
As we grow, we will have more and more specialised programming. We have really tried to explore different aspects of the lifestyle genre and be more that just another channel in this space. We take the lifestyle genre very seriously.
What have been the mainstays in NDTV Good Times’ programming?
We have created quite a few iconic brands. ‘Highway On My Plate’, ‘Kingfisher Calendar’ and ‘Band Baaja Bride’ are quite well known. We have also created a few good anchors such as Rocky and Mayur (‘Highway On My Plate’). Our programming is sharply focused, which is drawing in viewers as well as advertisers.
How do you expect digitisation to change the game for channels in the lifestyle genre?
It’s a critical year for everyone in the television space. When we started launching channels, digitisation has been the cutting edge. We are trying to change the balance where most of our revenues come from our ads to monetising the subscription space more. Now the idea is to try to recover from the viewers if they like our content.
What is the strategy behind your expansion in international markets?
We are the first ones to have gone to places where no one else visited, we have pretty much covered the countries where English is spoken and there is some Indian population. We are also on all various platforms so that we can reach our audience more easily.
Where have you seen maximum growth coming from? What are the growth drivers for the lifestyle genre?
In terms of revenue, so far it is advertising, but I think that needs to change and we need to look at the digital space as the new space for growth and getting completely platform agnostic. In terms of viewership, I think the idea of providing content and where you build your community, that’s the space for growth.