Evolve or perish - The new law of TV land

Content originality, connect with viewers, specialisation & ease of access are four pillars that TV players need to build their business on to stay abreast with changing times

e4m by Abhinav Trivedi
Updated: Oct 28, 2013 8:17 AM
Evolve or perish - The new law of TV land

Digitisation has added various facets to the entire demographics of Indian television. DAS will change the configurations of the business drastically. These parameters will not be typical business and social ones, but factors that would evolve content, its availability and tailor-made solutions.

We spoke to TV experts and analysts on how TV should evolve with time in order stay shoulder to shoulder with other platforms, especially digital...

Availability on all platforms
The platforms are not confined to DTH and cable networks, but eventually mobile TV, IPTV, YouTube channel and any other platform likely to emerge in the near future. “One can see the changing nature of the business. The key to business success is youth and upcoming audiences. Within five years, there will be a paradigm shift in technology access. TV channels today need to ensure that they are available in robust forms on all these platforms. If one sees platforms such as mobile or IPTV as niche today, they are likely to become generic tomorrow. There will be a thin line between online viewing and television viewing,” shared Yash Patel, a senior media analyst.

Experts agree that the trend has already begun with some channels taking basic steps towards full fledged access on IPTV and other new emerging platforms, but a lot needs to be done. Sony LIV is an example. STAR too has been active on this front. In fact, availability and ease of access will be key to the success of TV channels in the future.

Evolution of content
Content evolution does not mean a complete overhaul of present day formats of soaps. “If you flip most of the GECs, content is almost similar. If you flip Infotainment channels, there is a difference in the approach. That does not imply that GECs should start serving infotainment. It means that channels have to come up with original and well researched content, and not just serve tried and tested foreign adaptation of certain shows based on the fact they were a hit earlier,” said Nitish Khotwani, Senior Media Analyst, Equity Ventures. He further added, “KBC and Bigg Boss have seen a consistent decline in viewership. Audience is consistently evolving. Channels need to understand that.”

“Kapil Sharma’s comedy night is an example of evolved comedy. The content has struck locally. People enjoy simple jokes, because they are served in a fresh and original format; although the freshness today is old tomorrow. So this format will have to evolve, said Khotwani.

Connection of content and audience
24, a series recently launched by Colors, which is an Indian adaptation of the American series, though evolved in nature, could not achieve as much as was expected out of it. The reason, media analysts highlight is connection deficit.

“24 was a show intended primarily for urban and affluent audiences. Now many among them had already seen the international series, and usually if one has seen the original, he does not enjoy the derivative. Secondly, among the urban lot which had not seen 24, appreciated the show, but Tier II and Tier III towns could not connect to the content. In fact, they watched the show because of the high quality visuals but gradually they moved on. CID’s 1000th episode viewership on some parameters was higher than 24. Channels need to understand this trend. 24 is a very good show and producers have done a fantastic job, but a lot better could have been done. Had the content originated from India itself, it could have a made a larger impact,” said a senior media planner.

With increase in the number of specialised channels, experts predict that for some players their USP will be key. Sunil Lulla, CEO, Times Television Network in an earlier interaction with exchange4media mentioned, “Specialisation will play a key role in the success of a channel in the future.”

There has been a spurt in the number of channel launches by various networks. Shagun TV, a 24 hour matrimony channel, Zee Khana Khazana, a food channel, ZEE Q, an edutainment channel for kids, etc. are some prime examples.
“Subscription will drive handsome revenues for channels post DAS. Major networks are launching specialised channels to have an early mover advantage. In the future, most networks will have their specialised channels. This would be the so called ‘niche’ targeting with tailor-made content and advertising. It will take the TV business to a completely new level.  It might further evolve to special editions of channels like we have in newspapers today,” said Ritesh Kochhar, Media Critic and Analyst, Investment Guru.

Television channels, therefore, need to rely on originality of content, connect with the audiences, specialisation and ease of access to stay abreast with the changing times.

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