STAR India’s forthcoming venture StarOne, earlier called SP2, is soon to make its mark on Indian television. Industry sources inform that in a recent sales conference in Hong Kong, channel officials announced that the channel aims at an October 25 launch. Most details of the channel like the personnel and programming are already in place. And, a lot more is still being finalised. The objective of the channel is simple – taking on Sony Entertainment Television.
On the people front, the programming of the channel will be headed by Deepak Segal, Sr VP, Content and Communication, Star India. Working under him is Ravi Menon. Ajay Vidyasagar would head marketing. Recently joining the network, Rahul Chakraborty will be the brand manager of the channel. With Kevin Vaz on top, the sales responsibilities of the channel come under the charge of Joy Chakkraborthy.
The teams put under the various heads are a mix of new names as well as those currently employed with the channel. In content, names like Anita Nair and Vipul Mayank are working under Menon. A fresh team has been put in place here. As for sales, names like Sony’s Rahul Shaw and SET MAX’s Anupama Gulathi have recently joined the channel. On the other hand, STAR Plus’ Simran and Mildred would also be on the sales team. In marketing again, new faces are put in place to work under Rahul Chakraborty. Sources inform that more from other channels, especially Sony are coming on board this week.
Of the content that is put in place, most shows are based on international works. The channel has its primetime from 8.00 to 11.00 pm and is looking at six hours of repeat programming. The channel will also have a slot called Studio One. This slot will air short 75-minute telefilms, which are again assigned to various production houses. As of right now, there is nothing planned for the afternoons.
The production houses already on board include the likes of Goldie Behl’s Rose Audio Visuals, Balaji, UTV, BAG Films with co-production house Humming Bird, Contiloe Films, Creative Eyes, Sagars and In-house Productions.
To mention a little more on programming, sources inform that in the current state, Contiloe has one game show called Man O Man, Balaji has two shows and neither is a soap. BAG too has two soaps of which one is a soap, Rose has a serial and a film for the channel, the Sagars are executing a programme called ‘Hotel’ and Creative Eyes has one serial.
The network aims at making the channel the Hindi sister of STAR World, looking largely at tapping the upmarket Hindi speaking youth. The programmes already commissioned do accentuate this aspect of the channel further. The content line-up is a good mix of soaps, dramas, comedies and format shows. International successes like Mind of a Married Man, Love Boat and CSI amongst others are being adapted.
Sony’s experiments with ‘Jassi…’ and ‘Ye Meri…’ have proved that Indian television has the potential to rope in new eyeballs, bringing in the younger viewers. STAR India’s bid with StarOne is to rope in these viewers and the network is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that it give competition its best shot. October would be the same time when Sony would launch the on-air of its next big ticket, Indian Idols. For the channels, its plain war and for the Indian audience, its choice like never before.
At the time of filing the story, none of the channel’s officials were available for comments.