Festive fervour on Life OK

MUMBAI: The festive season is already upon us and Life OK, Star Plus's sister channel, is going all out to meet the celebratory mood head on. The channel, which plans to aggressively invest in content in the coming months, has a set of brand new shows up its sleeve, promising viewers a never-before-seen experience.

As we all are aware, in this January when LC1 got added to the measurement, everybody crashed. In April, when digitisation phase II happened, the channel was down to 110GRPs. If we further break it down, from January onwards the ratings have increased in both the categories - men and women. For men, the viewership ratings witnessed a rise by 50 per cent and a similar rise of 25 per cent for women.

The recently launched Ek Boond Ishq - BBC Worldwide's first daily fiction series in India - offers a flavour of the kind of programming to follow on the channel.

This tale of a girl who realises she is about to tie the knot in a prison cell, is telecast every week, Monday to Friday, at 8:30pm. One wonders however if airing such a show at a time slot when most other GECs boast strong programming, poses a risk more than an opportunity for the channel?

"Definitely not!" shoots Life OK general manager Ajit Thakur, confident their modest attempt at providing quality entertainment will be appreciated.

"What sells more is content. If the content is good, viewers will come anyway and watch the show," he adds.

Another show the channel has lined up as part of its festival bouquet is Katha Mahadev Putra Bal Ganesh Ki, a spin-off of its flagship property Mahadev, which airs on 14 September. The 16-episode series to be telecast every Saturday and Sunday at 7:00 pm, showcases the adventures of Lord Ganesh as a child, and is part of Life OK's larger mission to replicate the success of Star Plus.

It's a show targeted at the entire family, particularly kids. "It's a finite show. No other GEC has original content at this particular time slot. So we thought of taking advantage of that and occupying the slot. We not only aim to target women but also children with this show," explains Thakur.

Adding to the fresh batch of programming is Shakuntalam Telefilms' edgy thriller titled Rakshak, which launches end of this month. To be aired every Saturday and Sunday at 11:00 pm, it goes without saying the limited series faces tough competition from the likes of Crime Petrol (Sony), Comedy Nights with Kapil Repeats (Colors), Star Verdict Repeats (Star Plus), Fear Files (Zee TV), Taarak Mehta ka Oolta Chashma Repeats on Saturdays and Lapataganj - Ek Baar Phir on Sundays.

Yet another feather in the channel's programming cap is the new reality series, SOL Productions' The Bachelorette India featuring Bollywood actor Mallika Sherawat. As reported by this website earlier, the non-fiction show will see 30 eligible bachelors battling it out to win the sex siren's heart… and hand.

With the concept derived from an earlier show named Swayamvar on NDTV Imagine, comparisons between the two are inevitable. Especially since the likes of Rakhi Sawant (who ended up separating from her partner post the series) and Rahul Mahajan, who participated in Swayamvar. The Bachelorette India is not the first of the channel's trysts with reality shows. An earlier attempt, Welcome - Baazi Mehmaan Nawazi Ki, failed badly at winning the hearts of its audience.

While the channel has pinned high hopes on these programs, whether they will succeed is a separate story altogether. Says a highly placed media planner (name withheld on request): "I don't think the channel is doing something new in terms of content. Viewers have already seen all this. It depends on the channel how they modify and show it to audiences. If viewers are interested, it might be a green signal for them. Talking about the upcoming shows, one will have to wait and see how they fare as it is too early to predict."

Many other media planners though agreed the channel has been innovating and launching new shows time and again to sustain viewership and maintain numbers.

All said, it's now up to the viewers to decide whether they like Life OK's bag of goodies…

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