MUMBAI: After some months of giving over the limelight completely to sister channel MAX courtesy the World Cup, Sony Entertainment India's flagship channel SET is ready to take centre-stage again.
SET today outlined a programming and marketing strategy for the coming year that it hopes will strengthen its No. 2 position in the Hindi entertainment stakes while at the same time reducing the gap with lead channel Star Plus.
Elaborating on Sony's programming strategy, SET executive vice president Sunil Lulla said: "This is a critical year for Sony and we are determined to grow our franchise by focusing on creating differentiated products and directing Sony's creative development at India's most significant demographic mix - men and women, 25-34 SEC ABC."
As reported in February on indiantelevision.com, SET is launching five new prime-time shows. Additionally, its long-running dance talent show Boogie Woogie returns in a jazzed up and reformatted avatar.
The shows that roll out over the next six weeks are:
Ab Ayega Mazzaa an interactive response show that might just be able to give a run for its money to some of the city-centred infotainment shows that feature on the news channels sprouting all over the place. Ab Ayega Mazzaa promises to offer a mix of entertainment glamour and information. Premieres Monday, 28 April at 8 pm.
Kuch Kehti Hai Yeh Dhun adapted from the international musical show Name That Tune, the long-in-gestation musical game show has Raageshwari as its host. Premieres Monday, 28 April at 8:30 pm.
Sambhav Asambhav - a drama based on the popular Gujarati novel by Harkishan Mehta is set against the backdrop of reincarnation. Premieres Thursday, 1 May at 8:30 pm.
Crime Patrol, a "live action" series that takes the viewers behind the scenes to see the police in "real" action. Lulla clarified that it was unlike the Police Files that airs on Star World in that the shooting is not recreated from police case files by actors but real live shots. Premieres Friday, 9 May at 10:30 pm.
Naam Gum Jayega a family drama that explores the influence of religion and culture on its two protagonists. Now this looks interesting. The series, made by Vipul D Shah and Shobhana Desai, is about two girls who were switched at birth and grow up in Muslim and Hindu households. After 22 years they discover their real parents and have to adjust to the new realities. Queried as to whether the show would be given an extended run unlike the fate that befell two earlier attempts at being different Dhadkan (a medical drama) and Hubahu (about twins switching identities), Lulla said the series was planned with an extended duration in mind. Careful background work had gone into the creation of the show keeping all issues in mind, he said. Launch date still to be announced.
Boogie Woogie relaunch of the popular dance show as a nationwide amateur talent hunt. Premieres 28 May at 8 pm. Boogie Woogie will be actively supported by Sony Music, Lulla said, with dance videos of some of the kids on the anvil.
Lulla also revealed that the next quarter would see the Indian adaptation of the hit Spanish soap Betty La Fea which has had succesful runs in over 25 countries across the globe.
Marketing activities would form a key ingredient of all SET's future plans and multi-media campaigns would be crucial to driving SET's theme proposition: "Are you ready for Sony", Lulla stated. The viewer certainly seems to be ready for fresh fare that moves off the "saas-bahu" trail. And with the huge lift the World Cup gave to the network as a whole, SET will be hoping that the consumer takes to, rather than just samples, what it has to offer.