Zoom is all set for a launch in the quarter beginning this July. The channel is looking at providing alternate viewing options to upmarket young adults who are tired of soaps and serials.
States Aparna Pande, Head External Programming and On Air Promotions, “Till now Hindi channels have been exploring too much of the same thing. There, frankly, is an excess of Hindi soaps in the market. We have identified a definite need gap in the market and have conceptualised programming according to that.”
The plan is to make programming as diverse from the existing Hindi programming as possible. States Pande, “Programming would be non-fiction, premium Hindi and we have a well defined target group — all adults of 15 to 34.” Echoes Irshwin Balvani, Head, Internal Programming: “We have excellent programming that would even appeal to the hard-to-get upmarket TG of 15 to 24 years.”
The channel would offer shows on varied segments like, lifestyle, chat shows, music and fashion. One would wonder at how these shows would be then different from cooking, house decoration and fashion shows dished out on other channels in the name of lifestyle? Production Heads at Zoom are reluctant to talk in length. “We have no kitchen shows or kitchen politics, no home decoration tips. Fashion is there but not in the uppity ramp walk style – that it looks very unapproachable,” responds a reticent Zoom production head.
And who is creating these shows for them? “Some shows would be created in-house, while some would be done by production houses. The division is almost 50:50. We are working with quite a few good production houses – among them there are Balaji and Cinevista,” Balvani says.
But does Balaji have the wherewithal to create classy upmarket non-fiction shows? An optimistic Pande replies, “We believe that Balaji has the potential to come up with good non-fiction programming and nobody as of now has tapped them on that frontier. Hence, we planned to get the best out of this opportunity.”
Interestingly, the in-house creative and production team at Times TV comprises of people as varied as possible, and that according to Balvani is a big asset, “We have a multifaceted team – coming from various walks of life – students, creative guys from MTV and BBC, fresh script writers – what runs across this team, perhaps is their ability to look at things in a unique and different manner of their own.”
The channel would be launched on Pan Am satellite. Advertising for the channel would break 15 days before the launch and as the channel is going independent, by largely in print.
Globally, niche channels and the ones focused on a specific target group deliver good audiences. As for India, it is a new game and Zoom would be a channel closely watched by the competition and media experts.