“Reality shows form a core part of our DNA”

In the last 4 years, reality-based formats have really worked for us, says Nikhil Gandhi, ED, Youth Network, Disney UTV Media Networks

e4m by Synjini Nandi
Updated: Jan 22, 2013 7:45 PM
“Reality shows form a core part of our DNA”

Innovation has become the buzz word for broadcasters today, with channels experimenting not only with different formats for shows on television, but also focusing on developing unique content for the web and social media as well as integrating and hosting different events for greater audience engagement.

In conversation with exchange4media, Nikhil Gandhi, Executive Director, Youth Network, Disney UTV Media Networks talks about Bindass’ multiple programming strategy, its ‘restless’ brand proposition and on how DAS has changed the game for players in the broadcast space.

How would you describe the year 2012 for Bindass? What, according to you, were the important milestones that will define the way forward for Bindass now?
Last year was interesting for the channel. We came up with a brand proposition titled ‘restless’, which was about giving focus and meaning to the attitude that Bindass already had as a brand. It is about empowering the TG and the audience and giving them the encouragement to do more than what they are currently doing. Hence, the first biggest proposition of the year gone by was to establish the restless proposition of the brand. We also came up with a lot of interesting concepts, which were tried and tested with a lot of shows, constituting a core part of our brand DNA.

There were also a lot of brand activations, integrations with music events and even hosting of events. That was a whole new dimension that we gave to the brand, which became popular with our audiences as well. The third one was the augmentation of the web piece for us. We have also established a brand new content play on the web in the form of interesting snippets, which is not about replicating what is on air and putting it on web, but airing content which have been specifically created for web. So, all in all it was a pretty interesting year for us.

Post digitisation, how do you think the youth genre will evolve further? Will there be any major changes as compared to the previous year?
DAS has changed the game and we are very happy for it. The numbers also depict that DAS has proved to be very beneficial to us. Ultimately, great content is of high significance for the audience. Viewers prefer relevant content. There are so many music channels airing the same content and hence, the audiences could stick to one channel and get the entire content. Since we are a youth GEC, we have an advantage over other channels in the youth space. The youth is getting defined very clearly now. The channel which is providing intelligent content relevant to the youth is getting its share of pie, and this is very evident in terms of numbers. We believe that a concept is not created in the boardroom and, therefore, we go down to young India for research and then develop and produce the shows.

Could you elaborate on the content and the programming strategy for the channel?
I believe that fiction and reality are just formats. Ultimately content is the king. All our concepts are backed by research and what we have experienced in the last four years is that reality-based formats really work for us. Having said that, we were the first youth channel to launch a fiction show back in 2007 and 2008. We have already tested our waters with fiction and it really works, but you need to have the right script, concept, and story that you can take forward. We are toying with fiction and will create a block in the future, but reality shows also make a good chunk of the pie and hence, we would be continuing with them. They also form a core part of our DNA. This time we are also doing something very interesting with ‘Emotional Atyaachar’ Season 4, where you will see a hint of an element of fiction coming in the form of reconstruction of the story. In the last three months, we have established Bindass as a 40-plus GRP channel, recording a GRP of 49.

We have seen you engage in some interesting marketing activities last year with shows such as ‘Super Dude’. What is driving your growth strategy for 2013?
We keep changing our marketing initiatives in accordance with the show that we are aiming to promote. There are certain shows which we know will catch the fancy of the viewers on a particular platform. For example, for the latest season of ‘Emotional Atyachaar’, a promo was launched on the web. Thereafter, it was aired on television, which became a rage. For the show ‘Big Switch’, we did a hoarding campaign which became the talk of the town. Then we used innovative media such as radio, bus advertising, etc., to create buzz around the show. We will also do OOH for ‘Emotional Atyachaar’, but in a different manner. There will be huge impact through print, online, and radio, along with different brand associations; it will be one of the largest campaigns undertaken by the channel.

What are some of the new initiatives we can expect?
We are going to launch cult shows that have redefined the thoughts and preferences of the youth of today, such as ‘Big Switch’, ‘Emotional Atyachaar’, and so on, with multiple successful seasons. We will come back with impactful, high-octane programming through 2013.

We will also build on the our repertoire of exciting and engaging short format shows for the youth with ‘Wardrobe 99’, ‘Quirky People’, ‘What on Earth’ and ‘Angry Appa’ across multiple youth friendly themes. We are also embarking on a significant activation through ‘Bindass Buddies’ across 10 cities in over 100 colleges between January and March 2013.

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