Television software group Saregama is in the process of consolidating its creative presence in South India. In a bid to revamp a particular genre, the group is soon to introduce a weekly show on Sun TV. Centered round a talent hunt, the show would be fashioned as a road show and would take place at different locations in Tamil Nadu. The show would culminate in choosing a male and a female performer to team up for an album. The show is expected to comprise of an innovative main round to be unveiled in the first episode, which is likely to commence by August-September.
The new road show has been planned on the lines of VJ hunt that different music channels conduct, but it promises to offer a different twist and to showcase Tamil music and encourage young Tamil talent.
Asked if Saregama was planning to produce a software for the Hindi market, KR Kumar, Business Head, Television Software Division, responded, “It could happen anytime, now or even two years later, depending on how everything falls in place. Until such time, we are focusing on consolidating our position in the South. In past six months we have grown from three hours of programming to 12 hours of programming content, which takes into account all the language channels under Sun Network, to whom we provide content. Again irrespective of the number of hours we provide programming, the success reaped by the individual programme, our unique attributes like incorporating graphics, the variety of genre we explore in the serials are all critical factors towards our consolidation process.”
Speaking on the differences in the television market between North and South, Kumar said, “ North Indian market is very different from the South starting from things like colour schemes. I have observed that viewers in North prefer pastel background shades while more deep and dark colours are used for backgrounds in South. Socio-mythology as a genre may work in a South market but will not work for the North. Formats which are not women-centric works in a Hindi market but will never work for the South, where women-centric serials always top the chart.”
Saregama has so far been predominantly producing weekly programmes for the Sun TV bouquet of channels namely Sun, Surya, Gemini and Udaya. The programme list also includes a daily, titled, ‘My Dear Boodham’ (My dear Ghost), that appears on Sun TV between 6 and 6.30 pm. The weeklies include ‘Raja Rajeshwari’, which is the best performing serial in terms of TRPS, according to Saregama. The other programmes include, ‘Vichitra Katha Mallika’, a fantasy fiction on Gemini TV, ‘Ayilyam Kavu’ a horror serial in Surya TV. Speaking about the TRPS delivered by the weeklies, Kumar said, “In the case of any programming effort, the TRPs should not be taken at face value but has to be compared to the earlier serial, which was running at the same slot as viewership patterns vary from slot to slot. Hence the success of a serial can only be determined on how much of viewership it can bring to a particular slot compared to the earlier scenario.”
The Television software market in India is a growing sector, which has not yet been tapped to its best potential. India has the second largest population of 75 million who are ardent viewers of television, next to the United States, of which 30-40 million reside in C&S homes. Sharing his views on production of television software in India, Kumar said, “Our country is heavily fragmented as every state has a dual language. Investments in television software are not very high and neither is the ad revenue. There are different genres that are yet to be explored.”
With the growing television viewing population and a variety of genres that are yet to be tested for acceptability, the software industry though slow to evolve, may catch on rapidly. However, with the number of channels on the rise and attractive options like DTH appearing on the scene, the zapping syndrome would further intensify the competition for television software.