Television

Tide has turned for Sony, asserts Dasgupta

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Sony Entertainment, the flagship channel of the SET network, celebrated its sixth 6th anniversary yesterday and CEO Kunal Dasgupta asserts it is as good a time as any to serve notice on rivals Star and Zee that the channel wars are by no means over.

"The year gone by was a tumultuous one for the television industry and SET has not only weathered the storm but come through much stronger, more popular and within striking distance of the leader. The tide has turned! We beat KBC (Star Plus' waning gameshow Kaun Banega Crorepati) three weeks in a row with Kkusum," Dasgupta exhults. Kkusum hit TVRs of 8.9 (target audience all individuals, Western and Northern regions) as per TAM data. Incidentally 12 October is sister channel SET MAX's 2nd anniversary.

He further states: "The new Friday starry launches could not shake our favourites, the all new Dil se Dosti, Boogie Woogie, Heena, CID & Aahat which have successfully seen off the backs of a rapidly weakening competition. I can sense the viewer boredom and fatigue from the leader and we will strike now. Coming up is a brand new exciting vibrant channel identity package."

"Ekta Kapoor's Kutumb will debut in October prime time (the daily soap debuts at the end of the month). By the end of the year we would have launched seven new pulsating shows crowning it with Shubh Vivaah, Madhuri Dixit's TV debut. This will be the point at which SET will lead again. The biggest blockbusters Kaho Na Pyar Hai, Mohabbatein & Mission Kashmir will premier in the Festival season. Divine blessings have come our way by our leadership on Sunday mornings through the grace of Sri Krishna, Sri Ganesh and Mahabharat. I am so enthused that every individual in SET is now working with renewed vigour. Our encryption was seamless and no viewer suffered."

Dasgupta also declared that the channel was being completely repackaged, the details of which would be unveiled shortly.

The shows Sony is launching in the next three months are - Kutumb, Achaanak, Kal, Dhadkan, Hubahu, Hum Hain Dilwale, Shubh Vivaah.

In Kutumb Ekta takes the intra-family feud out of the saas-bahu (mother-in-law vs daughter-in-law) feud format into the husband vs wife domain.

The storyline in a nutshell - hate begets marriage, marriage begets love. The protagonist is a spoilt rich brat from a Gujarati family who falls for a girl in his college. She spurns him as she is already engaged to someone else. To cut to the chase. He manages to get the engagement broken off and manoeuvres matters in such a way that ultimately the two get married hating each other's guts. Love triumphs in the end of course.

Kal - another Ekta production (naturally considering the K in the name) - is "inspired" by the life of Jack Nicholson. The hero is a teenager who when he turns 15 discovers that the person he thought was his sister is actually his mother. And his mom is actually his grandmother. Convoluted? The basic premise is from a true-life tale mind you. To continue, he is shattered when he learns the truth and leaves home. He becomes a wastrel but comes back to the fold when the father dies and he is left as the chief heir in the will.

Dhadkan (the title has not been finalised yet and may finally become Doctors) is modeled on such popular series set around hospitals as Chicago Hope and ER.

All in all quite an interesting line-up. The coming months should see how far Dasgupta is able to take Sony in its attempt to get on the channel leaderboard.

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