Since March 2017, the television and (OTT) space has witnessed the comeback of quite a few popular shows. One of the most-loved shows, ‘Sarabhai vs Sarabhai Take 2’ was launched on OTT platform Hotstar while other relaunches include Sony SAB’s ‘Sajan Re Jhoot Mat Bolo’ on the same channel as ‘Sajan Re Phir Jhoot Mat Bolo’ on Sony SAB (launched in May), DD National’s ‘Chandrakanta’, which has been revived by Colors with the same name (in June) and Life OK as ‘Prem Ya Paheli...Chandrakanta’ (March) and Zee TV’s ‘Hum Paanch’ on Big Magic as ‘Hum Paanch Phir Se.’ Making an entry into this list is DD National’s ‘90s property ‘Tenali Rama’ launched on Sony SAB on July 11 at 8pm with Hide & Seek as its sponsor.
Commenting on the sudden trend of bringing back old shows, Neeraj Vyas, Senior EVP & Business Head – Hindi Movies and Music Cluster at Sony SAB, SPN, says that this is a common phenomenon in movies. Especially for ‘Sajan Re Phir Jhoot Mat Bolo’ Neeraj points out that he didn’t mind giving it another name but eventually went with the original name given the channel’s investment ‘in the brand for so many years and the past success of the franchise. “The trend is to retain the name of the original franchise and bring back a similar story, like the ‘Golmaal’ series,” he says. The daily show aired at 9pm has Close Up and Vimal Pan Masala as its sponsors.
Tarun Katial, CEO, RBNL, takes into consideration the popularity of ‘Hum Paanch’ and says, “With the current trend of retro properties being revived, bringing back this show will be a treat to our viewers owing to the popularity of the show and its famous characters. The sequel has a contemporary twist, while keeping the intrinsic elements of the show intact.”
Mentioning that the daily has been picking up well, Katial adds, “But after witnessing the first few weeks of positive viewership numbers, we are hopeful of seeing a significant growth.”
To connect to today’s audience, broadcasters are giving a modern look to these shows and making the look and content as relevant as possible. Katial mentions that ‘Hum Paanch Phir Se’ has been conceptualised keeping viewers’ sentiments at the core along with their viewing pattern. He adds, “Its format has been given a modern take while the main plot remains the same. It is this perfect combination that will not only attract the fans of the original show, but also bring a newer set of audience to our platform.”
Neeraj says that ‘Sajan Re Phir Jhoot Mat Bolo’ is a lot more contemporary and treated like a new show with new characters. “The core of it is similar to the previous one.”
Satisfied with the response to the show (launched in May) from the awareness and rating perspective, he adds, “We are on the right track.”
Barring ‘Sajan Re Phir Jhoot Mat Bolo’ and ‘Hum Paanch Phir Se’, most of the revivals happen to be mythological shows. Dinesh Vyas, Associate VP (Planning) at OMD, explains that with Indians’ love for history and past success of earlier renditions (think ‘Mahabharata’), mythological shows always find a secure base in tier II and tier III cities. “They always give numbers,” he says.
“The reason you see ‘Tenali Rama’ and ‘Chandrakanta’ returning is because people have loved these stories. Thanks to the advancement of technology, now they (makers) believe they can present a better version,” adds Dinesh.
Neeraj says, “Tenali is a classic hero. It’s a journey of a confident, witty man who can find his way out of any trouble without flexing his muscle. This concept is timeless. We will make sure we bring it out in the smartest possible way.”
For other shows, Dinesh points out that the broadcasters want to build on their residual equity. For instance, in the case of Sarabhai vs Sarabhai, the makers would have noticed the old show being watched on YouTube and sensed an audience demand for it. He says, “They would calculate if there is a way to refresh the content and put it up for consumption.”
Katial speaks on similar lines, “It is always beneficial to launch a sequel or revive an old show due to a number of factors. Firstly, the show brings along with it a dedicated set of audience, which gives a great boost to the channel’s viewership. Secondly, you have a popular and familiar premise, but bringing a new flavour to it as per the taste of the audience forms an important aspect as it generates excitement among them. It makes the end consumer look up to the brand or the channel they can relate to, and keep coming back to it for their daily dose of entertainment.”
But does it make business sense? Dinesh feels it completely depends on the success of the show. Neeraj on the other hand believes that once the creativity is in place people will watch the shows. “Business will follow. We believe that this will work,” he says.
Katial too is upbeat about his show. “We are expecting a significant growth in our viewership with the launch of ‘Hum Paanch Phir’ Se and our upcoming show - ‘Khaki Ek Vachan’.” He is in talks with some sponsors for the show and is looking to lock them in what he calls a long-term and fruitful association.