Watch Screen Awards on Life OK

MUMBAI: Barely days since it completed two years on 18 December, Life OK has acquired the telecast rights of one of film and television’s biggest properties – the Screen Awards – currently in its 20th year. 

With this development, one of Bollywood’s most credible and prestigious awards have come a full circle. Aired on Star Plus for a good 11 years to begin with, they were later telecast by Colors for two years and now, will be seen on Star Plus’ sister channel Life OK.

To be aired on 26 January, 2014 at 8pm, this year’s Screen Awards, themed ‘Commemorating heroes’, will celebrate excellence in over 30 categories across the entire sweep of filmmaking in the Hindi and Marathi film industry.

Life OK general manager Ajit Thakur exults: “While it may have been aired on other platforms earlier, Star network has always had this unique proposition. On Life OK this year, the Screen Awards will have much more of a natural effect. But having said that, we will also scale up since it is the 20th year of the awards plus two years of the channel, and we want to add a lot more inspiration to it. We will create more categories for honouring good cinema. We’re also looking at honouring the heroes of our cinema. We will build it around that platform, adding more to the credibility and inspiration for viewers.”

The Indian Express Group CEO George Varghese opines: “The Screen Awards are known for their credible and unbiased approach towards celebrating excellence in Indian cinema, and are the most respected in the entertainment fraternity. For the 20th edition of the Screen Awards, we are proud to be associated with Life OK, and are committed to making it bigger and better than before."

The idea behind acquiring the telecast rights of the Screen Awards was very simple for the channel. They want to create an impact on the masses with popular properties. “We completed two years and we were at a good run for the last 12 months. It was important for us to now go to the next level. And when we say next level, one of the things which we want to do is create an impact by acquiring some big properties,” explains Thakur. “We were very clear about acquiring this award show which we have never done before, keeping in mind our criteria in programming that is very clear. We wanted a show which stands out in terms of entertainment and some amount of credibility and inspiration also.”

And so far, the channel has enjoyed working with Screen for the award ceremony. “It’s been wonderful. When we met the CEO of Indian Express George Varghese and the Editor of ScreenPriyanka Sinha Jha, initially, they had a lot of questions about Life OK since the awards used to air on the top two channels earlier and we are at number four. But we shared our plans with them and told them that how we were aiming to grow the channel. They loved our programming philosophy, our belief in social causes and our airing inspiring content. Because of these things, they were finally convinced about going ahead with the partnership,” says Thakur.

The on-ground will be handled by Cineyug and though sponsors haven’t been confirmed yet, many new categories such as FMCG, automobiles and telecom are interested in coming on board.

We will build it around that platform, adding more to the credibility and inspiration for viewers, says Ajit Thakur

Marketing-wise, Thakur informs they are doing a nomination night one week before the awards’ night, which will be one of the biggest marketing campaigns for Life OK. In the pipeline are activities across 150 TV channels; a 10-day city outdoor starting first week of January that will cover buses, malls and cinema halls; cinema advertising; radio and mobile activations; and a road show that will take the Screen Awards trophy to different cities across the country.

An industry source pegs the value of the Screen Awards property at around Rs 25 - Rs 30 crore but adds, “Because it is coming on Life OK, the value will come down a bit.”

Probed further, the source says: “It would be about Rs 10 - 12 crore. The channel is trying to invest in programming to get and buy the viewer out. Possibly, they might have paid Rs 25 - 30 crore for it, knowing that though they will lose Rs 10 - 15 crore in the first year, in two or three years’ time, it will start making money and make their channel larger. Typically, you can’t make much money on the property in the very first year though it also depends on the scale and execution.”

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