After a couple of channel name changes and rebranding exercises, Star Bharat has also upped its ante on the content front and will be expanding its original programming line-up with new show launches in the next six months.
Upbeat about the channel’s future plans, Kevin Vaz, Head, Network Entertainment Channels, Disney Star, believes that the journey has just begun for the channel. “This is just the start for us. In the next six months, we’ll be launching a slew of shows and putting out great stories with strong insights using the entire might of the network to market them. That’s when you’ll see the real growth trajectory of the channel,” said Vaz.
The channel announced the launch of its first reality show “Swayamvar - Mika Di Vohti”, where the music star Mika Singh will be on the lookout for his life partner. The show is being produced by SOL Productions.
Promos of the show:
The first “Swayamvar-based” concept was explored by NDTV Imagine with Rakhi Sawant’s marriage in 2009. After its massive success, the channel again launched another show “Rahul Dulhaniya Le Jayega” on the same concept in 2010, followed by “Ratan Ka Rishta” which aired in 2011 on the channel. Recently, Colors also launched a show “Mujhse Shaadi Karoge” on this concept featuring Shehnaaz Gill and Paras Chhabra.
In 2013, Star Bharat, erstwhile Life OK, first tested waters in “Swayamvar” as a concept of the show, when it launched “The Bachelorette India” with Mallika Sherawat.
Talking about the show with Mika Singh, Vaz said, “We do a lot of research with the consumers to find out what kind of content they like to watch. We bring to the audience all kinds of content genres from time to time. The show has resonated with the audience in the past and will resonate as we go forward in the future. We are very upbeat about the show.”
The channel has yet to announce the release date and time slot for the show, it is going to air five days a week.
Throwing some more light on the channel’s content strategy, Vaz said that while the channel will largely have shows in the romantic genre, it will also create content across genres for family viewing. Vaz believes that the romance genre works very well in the country. He added, “In fact, whenever there is a wedding on the show, it gets an increased viewership. But altogether the channel will have a mix of shows.”
He further said, “Star Bharat is at a juncture where it needs to reinvent itself and carve out a niche in the GEC space. We have identified romance as the central theme for the channel and along with “Swayamvar - Mika Di Vohti”, viewers will witness many more shows around romance in the coming months.”
Star Bharat recently launched the show “Wo To Hai Albelaa”, and already has “Gud Se Mitha Ishq”, and another romantic show in the pipeline.
Star Bharat is the second Hindi GEC offering from the Star India Network, with strong footholds in Delhi, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh. Vaz said, “Certain shows do settle in a particular market and going forward one would get to see a lot of shows for these markets, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t reaching out to all HSM markets. At the end of the day, Star Bharat is a Hindi Speaking Market channel and will reach out to the HSM market as a whole.”
In 2017, Star India rebranded Life Ok with a new look and named it Star Bharat. This was the second time the network rebranded the channel. Earlier in 2011, Star One was relaunched as Life Ok, Star One was launched in 2004.
Star Bharat has positioned itself as a channel that has programming which celebrates the many facets of growing India, challenges the norms with a fresh perspective for the conservative yet progressive Indians. The channel showcases empowering journeys and endorses positive storytelling.
Talking about how the channel differentiates itself from the other GECs, Vaz said, “We identify the need gaps of the audiences. We look at where the audience's interest lies and chase that. Also, lot depends on how you tell the stories. Star Bharat has been very successful on our network, our strong consumer research and insights have really helped us to get there.”
According to EY FICCI M&E report, the TV viewership of the HSM market was lower in 2021 than in 2019 and saw the largest drop in viewership by 11%.
With the drop in viewership of HSM market as a background, Vaz said, “If there is good content, people will come and watch it on TV. Over the last 24 months, TV consumption has increased. A lot of new shows have been launched and done very well.”
An interesting fact about GEC in India is that while the consumption of GEC on TV has reduced, television advertising grew by 25% in 2021, GEC genre led with a 28% share of ad volumes, marginally edging past the news genre which was the largest in 2020, according to the EY FICCI report.
He concluded, “At the end of the day it is a market which has got several channels putting up new shows every now and then. Only differentiated content will appeal to the audience. We just have to find the right content that appeals to the mass audience and that’s what makes the difference.”