The Business Head of Sony Entertainment Television speaks about the channel’s strong focus on high-concept shows with a powerful star cast to win over audiences
Jagadeesh Krishnamurthy | Mumbai | April 10, 2015
Sony Entertainment Television (SET) is set to launch their new show set in the backdrop of the Indian media space, titled ‘Reporters’ and starring Rajeev Khandelwal and Krittika Kamra. The channel has roped in Frooti as the presenting sponsor for the show, which will air every Monday to Thursday at 9 pm on the channel from April 13, 2015.
On the sidelines of the press meet for the new show, BestMediaInfo caught up with Nachiket Pantvaidya, Senior Executive, Vice-President and Business Head, SET to talk about the latest developments at SET and the road ahead for the channel. Edited excerpts from the conversation:
How was the year 2014-15 for the channel?
Last year, our first half was very good, but the second half was not so good. So, you could say that it has been a good and middling year. We got some new audiences and lost out on some old audiences. We are launching six shows in 100 days, between March 23, 2015 and June-end. We hope that whatever the new audience measurement system that BARC throws up will be addressed by these new shows.
What led to the loss of audience in the previous year?
There are two factors, I think. One is where our female audiences didn’t stick on and that’s where our main loss is. Our male audiences continue to come on to our popular shows like ‘CID’, ‘Aahat’, ‘Crime Patrol’ and the new show ‘Bhanwar’, but female audiences didn’t take to a lot of shows that we launched. We didn’t actually lose them, but we didn’t attract any new audience in the female section.
Is there a focus to attract female audiences with your forthcoming shows?
To be very honest, our focus is to attract female audiences as well. But, the shows are universal in nature, if you look at our upcoming shows like ‘Hanuman’ or ‘Reporters’ or the currently on air ‘Dil Ki Baatein’, where there is more of an universal skew in the way they have been designed. We don’t think female audiences will come onto our channel just because we will do classic female-centric shows like what our competition does. We do different kinds of shows from our competition to attract the female audiences.
How has Sony Liv’s performance been so far?
Right now, it has a humongous amount of unique viewers. I think it is upwards of 15 million, and most of our promotions are getting picked up on digital media a lot. This will drive a lot of interest in Sony on Sony Liv platform. For example, the promo for the show ‘Reporters’ has crossed 1 million views already. And, we believe that will help us draw digital audiences into our shows.
What are the immediate challenges in front of you?
There are two or three challenges ahead of us. One of the major challenges is how do we emerge stronger in a point of time where we are trying to fight ranks and turn around the company. Also, there are uncertainties with respect to what numbers the new ratings system will throw up. We have to be agile and meet those challenges. The third major part of our strategy is that we need to keep delivering fresher and differentiated product to our audiences. It is clear in our heads that if we deliver similar product, it is not going to work. So, the focus on innovation is extremely high and you will find that every show has something different. The last factor is that we are investing in fiction to a considerable extent. As you would have seen, we have got the biggest stars on Indian television on our channel like Ronit Roy, Ram Kapur, Rajeev Khandelwal, etc. Therefore, we will be making different and high-concept shows with a powerful star cast and hope that will swing our fortunes and help us rise up the ranks.