"Youth entertainment has grown quintessentially Indian over the years"

MK Anand, MD, Disney UTV Media Networks shares his views on the evolution of the youth genre and the need for youth shows to target broader, among other things...

e4m by Priyanka Mehra
Updated: Jun 7, 2013 7:51 PM
"Youth entertainment has grown quintessentially Indian over the years"

MK Anand, Managing Director, Disney UTV Media Networks, in a free-wheeling discussion with exchange4media, talks about the evolution of the youth genre in broadcasting. Youth shows need to target broader, he says.

Anand also throws light on UTV’s revenue model, targets for 2013 and more…

Excerpts:

How, according to you, has the youth GEC space evolved over the last few years?
The Indian youth of today are best described as ‘A Remixed Generation’. Today’s youth straddle seemingly conflicting worlds with immense ease and élan. They are supremely confident of what they want and engage with and demand content they like. They are rooted in tradition but are forcing change without destroying the past. Suffice to say that youth entertainment has remained dynamic, yet at the same time has grown to become quintessentially Indian over the years.

Though GRPs are at an all-time high, youth genre is still secondary to Hindi GECs. Given the fact that the production costs for such shows are on a higher side, what makes this genre viable?
Bindass has always been specifically targeted at a certain kind of consumer – the youth. That is the insight we began with in the first place and given that 50 per cent of the country’s population is youth, this is an extremely important TG with a huge potential.  We are targeting one of the largest segments within the country today, which cannot but be visible.
The production cost being higher is not something that I would generalise. It is true that GECs do get economies of scale due to volumes – the sheer number of episodes that run into 100s whereas in a channel like Bindass, we would typically look at creating 13 to 26 episodes in one season. Today, even the advertiser is looking at genre or TG-specific targeting which channels like Bindass are able to give with the right kind of play.

Could you share with us the business revenue model that has worked for the channel?
We are happy with our subscription revenue scale and growth. DAS is helping that. But we have a 65 percent to 70 percent dependence on ad sales. Performance and brand equity has added an ER-based sales approach. We are satisfied with our progress.

What are some of your expectations from digitisation Phase II, given the fact that it will lead to deeper market penetration?
Digitisation will certainly give more control in the hands of the viewer. The choice of the viewer is going to be of prime importance. We have always depended highly on a deep sense of understanding of our viewer and therefore, we have been able to deliver products basis that. Week 1 post DAS II was a pleasant re affirmations of our viewer’s love for Bindass. Moving forward, we are certain that even better times are in store for brand Bindass and our shows.
 
What are some of the targets that the channel has marked for 2013?
The 15 – 34 year olds comprise an approximately 42 per cent of all TV viewing. This is a fantastic opportunity for us. There is a gap in the general entertainment space on television and we want to cater to this segment. We want to become the destination for young India and Bindass is well on its way, if the numbers or the viewer feedback is anything to go by.

To succeed with youth, we believe we need to understand youth as a mindset and not an age cohort. While the sharp targeted parts will happen in the digital medium, web mobile or broadband TV, success with youth can come only if shows seek permission of others at home. Youth shows need to target broader.

What are some of the important milestones that will define the way forward for Bindass now?
Understanding the pulse of the audiences has been our core DNA. That is what drives us in whatever we do. On the back of some strong insights, we’ve also grown significantly as a brand with a very Indian persona of ‘Fun, Frank and Fearless’ as our driver themes, which has taken the channel from strength to strength, propelled by cult shows, most of which have run into multiple seasons.

Bindass has always focussed on youth-based fiction and non-fiction content as part of its programming strategy. Out of the two, which genre has been instrumental in driving maximum revenue for the channel?
More than the format of the content, it is our understanding of our TG and their content preferences that has been the driver for our programming strategy. Ultimately, content is the king and we have witnessed that young India loves great stories that they can relate to, characters that they can identify with and situations that mirror their own lives in some way or the other. Whether these are presented to them as a slice of life reality TV or in fictionalised format – is a creative call that varies from show to show.

While we have experienced success in the last four years with reality-based formats, we were also the first youth channel to launch a fiction show back in 2007 and 2008. In fact, the latest season of our cult show Emotional Atyachaar showcases recreation of the stories of the guests on the show. This tweak happened since the stories were about self-investigation as told by the guests to our anchor Pravesh Rana and it has met with a very encouraging response.
 

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