After leveraging nostalgia last year, what will content creators bank on for TV in 2021?

Reality shows, remakes or family-friendly content? Industry experts share insights on the theme that will dominate television content this year

e4m by Sonam Saini
Updated: Feb 4, 2021 8:53 AM
TV

Nostalgia was the key theme across Hindi General Entertainment Channels (GECs) in the first half of 2020. What begun with DD National airing classics like Ramayan and Mahabharat -- the most-watched shows during that period --, culminated with other GECs following suit with shows like Devo Ke Dev Mahadev, Saath Nibhana Sathiya, Mahabharat, Buniyaad, Dekh Bhai Dekh, and Circus, which made a comeback on TV.


With television devoid of fresh content due to production pause last year, content consumption on Hindi GEC witnessed a huge change. However, post- lockdown, content creators have been putting together shows on television, while following safety protocols. 


But a question emerges: How much will last year's challenges impact content plans and programming trends this year?


In an earlier interview with exchange4media, Nina Elavia Jaipuria Head- Hindi Mass Entertainment & Kids TV Network, Viacom18 shared that nostalgia was the one trend that emerged in 2020 and it actually fuelled channels’ non-prime-time growth: “I think going forward, the trend will be about creating content and telling stories that are very inclusive, capturing the simplicity of human emotions. These stories will help in the family bonding, and bring families together.”


The channel launched around four new fiction shows post- lockdown till now including Ishq Me Marjawaan2, Namak Issk Ka, Pinjara Khubsurti Ka and Molkki.
As per the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) data for week 2, the top five shows on Hindi GEC Urban includes Anupamaa, Imli, and Ghum Hai Kiskey Pyaar Mein on Star Plus, Kundali Bhagya on Zee TV and Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma on Sab TV.


After tasting the success of Anupamaa -- a Hindi adaptation of a Bengali show-- Star launched two more shows Imli, and Ghum Hai Kiskey Pyaar Mein again based on a Bengali show on Star Jalsha. It's evident that soon this might become a trend on Hindi GEC this year.


Director's Kut Productions' founder, Rajan Shahi- maker of Anupamaa and popular shows like Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai and Bidaai, explained, “One can never predict a trend when it comes to television or films. Over the years in television, there has been a certain kind of show which had change the entire texture of the other shows.”
He recalled how one of its popular shows on Star Plus, Bidaai, set the trend and others followed the same concept. Similarly, the case was with Naagin when it was launched on Colors. The success of Naagin made others follow similar trends.


Shahi added, “The television industry will always be driven by that one show that changes the trend and I can say Anupamaa is creating a new trend.” He also added that a well-balanced story that connects with the audience should be in the forefront this year.


When the shootings resumed in June last year post- lockdown, Ishq Mein Marjaawan 2 was the first new show launched on Colors- produced by Beyond Dreams Entertainment.


“The world has changed in the last 9- 10 months and so has the viewing habit. Even the consumer preferences have changed during this period. On the television front, different programming strategies have been adopted by a lot of channels. There is a trend of remakes and some experimental content is working,” said, Beyond Dreams Entertainment founder Yash Patnaik.


Patnaik added, “Everybody has changed the lens of looking at programming since the day we resumed shooting after lockdown. Even though everything started opening up in August- September, people were a little apprehensive about going out. But in the last four-six weeks, we have seen that more people have started moving out. The disruption has happened, but this is the settling time for the new normal. The next two-three months are going to be very critical to see where the television content is going to head. I believe happy stories will be more appreciated in the current scenario.”


Meanwhile, the shows which were scheduled for the launch last year will be launched this year. A big wave of reality shows is soon going to hit television in a few months. Shows like Dance Deewane on Colors TV, Dance Plus on Star Plus, Super Dancer on Sony TV, and Indian Pro Music League on Zee TV.


Frames Production Co-founder Ranjit Thakur shared: “ I don’t think there is going to be a major change in programming this year. This year, we should go back to what was normal, that is during pre- COVID times. It's been almost seven months that we started airing fresh content on TV. We are in a slightly better phase than six-seven months ago. In terms of programming, we are back to what used to happen.”


He added that entertainment will always score high. “As far as reality shows, which didn’t happen last year, are concerned, they may come back this year in a new format.”

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