Zee TV, Sony to revive past favourites in prime time

Zee TV and Sony Entertainment Television have adopted the route of bidding a timely farewell to shows to make way for new content.

e4m by Fatema Rajkotwala
Published: Feb 10, 2011 7:19 AM  | 5 min read
Zee TV, Sony to revive past favourites in prime time

Two Hindi general entertainment channels, Zee TV and Sony Entertainment Television, have adopted the route of bidding a timely farewell to shows to make way for new content.

Zee TV has decided to bring back its popular property, ‘Choti Bahu’, in the 7.30 pm slot from this February. This move will see ‘Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo’, which had premiered in March 2009 and has been airing in the 7.30 pm slot, coming to a close. Laali, the lead protagonist of the show, is one in the list of bold show concepts in the channel’s content line-up. The show will culminate with a one-and-a-half-hour long Maha-episode on Saturday, February 12, 2011 at 8 pm.

On the channel’s decision to bring back ‘Choti Bahu’, Sukesh Motwani, Head, Fiction, Zee TV, explained, “‘Choti Bahu’ as a show had created magic with the audiences and so we have chosen to bring back the two central lovers (with the same names... but these are new characters), Dev and Radhika. The theme of devotion and unconditional love despite being away from each other and ‘societal setting’ of the show will remain the same, but the plot is completely new. In my regard, ‘Choti Bahu’s core theme is unconditional love that Radhika and Dev have despite the odds they encounter, akin to Radha and Lord Krishna’s love, which is the most spiritual and devotional form of love because it is not about a conventional ‘union. It is more about deeply being in love and protecting or sacrificing for each other despite not being ‘allowed’ by circumstances to come closer.”

We have seen non-fiction shows coming back season after season. Are we now expecting high performing fiction shows to make a comeback in a season based format? Motwani commented, “I would not call it a second season format, because the characters and plot are new; only the devotion for Lord Krishna and a society/ small town world of Rawal and Mathura, where reverence for religion is part of everyday life, is being retained from the original show. It is an interesting experiment because the name of the show and the name of the central two characters remain the same.”

In an official press note, Zee TV’s Marketing Head, Akash Chawla, said, “‘Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo’ is an excellent example of how a powerful story like this one will always command recognition compared to the glamorous stuff shown on television. The channel has always believed in innovation and differentiated programming, which helped us in offering fresh concepts with strong characterisations. The show in its peak was delivering close to 4.5 TVRs. Currently, in the 7:30 pm time slot, ‘Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo’ will be replaced by with the magical love of Dev and Radhika in ‘Choti Bahu’. We are hoping that this ‘power of love’ will win many more million hearts with an all new story.”

Meanwhile, Sony is replacing ‘Tera Mujhse Hain Pehle Ka Naata Koi’, launched in October 2010, with its newest launch ‘Kismat’, which is scheduled for February 14, 2011. The show will feature in the 10 pm slot as part of the weekday line-up.

Ajit Thakur, Business Head, Sony Entertainment Television, spoke to exchange4media on the expectations for the show to mark a new direction for fiction content in the genre. He said, “With ‘Kismat’, we are looking at changing the way dailies will be viewed on television. It is a show on a huge scale, spanning three generations, and is the story of two men and their intertwining lives.”

The show is one of the three shows under the Yash Raj Films (YRF) banner, with speculations of a second season of ‘Mahi Way’. ‘Khotey Sikkey’ launched on January 28, 2011, in the 11 pm slot as part of the Friday and Saturday late prime time offering and opened well for the channel with a 1 plus TVR.

Commenting on the continued alliance with YRF, Thakur said, “YRF is doing content that is for the future and bigger than what everybody else has seen. Numbers for ‘Khotey Sikkey’ are promising and when you see good content, you must learn from the past and keep the faith. This is more expensive than the other shows. The investment is justified as we are looking at breaking the clutter, so we have to up the scale and do a bigger show. Hopefully, the advertisers will notice the difference.”

Talking about the marketing plan around the show, Danish Khan, Vice President and Head of Marketing, Sony Entertainment Television, gave exchange4media the complete round up and said, “We are looking at the 15-34 age group across metros and mini-metros, primarily cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Pune and Ahmedabad in the 1-million plus markets. We will have a mix of television channels apart from our own network, primarily youth and music channels. We have done buys around the top two stations in the city that include Radio Mirchi, Big FM and Red FM and Fever FM. FM radio is a commonly used medium besides news channels, where we have the prominent networks such as Aaj Tak, NDTV and more. On the day of the launch, we have a print advertisement, which will take care of most print supplements such as Bombay Times, Mumbai Mirror, HT City, Hello Delhi, Hello Bombay and so on. We have put out a strong presence in the digital medium too. As per the habits of these audiences that frequent malls, multiplexes and coffee stores, we are present in malls and multiplexes across these 4-5 cities.”

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