Television

Kairali TV experiments with new formula

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MUMBAI: If saas bahu sagas rake in high TRPs in the north, its the tear-jerking soaps that cast a similar spell in the south. Interestingly, the Left-backed Kairali Malayalam channel has taken a bold initiative to do away with melodramatic soaps all together.

 

 

In keeping with the channel statement of being 'a channel with a difference', Kairali's more than 50-odd programmes currently on air are devoid of soaps. Instead it has programmes on diverse topics like agriculture, music, social issues and current affairs.



According to Kairali TV chief executive officer Suresh Narayanan, "More than 90 per cent of these programmes are produced in-house, using the creativity of our own employees to the maximum extent possible. We are defining many of the programmes as infotainment because apart from providing entertainment we are infusing lot of information also. We are trying our best to have a TV-based programme culture not heavily depending on soap serials and films."



The channel which claims to be a 'people's channel' was originally sponsored by the CPM. Now it has about 236,000 ordinary shareholders, with the highest category having less than 0.8 per cent of the total subscribed value. It is a public limited company having wide spread equity distribution mainly in Kerala and among Keralites in the Gulf.



Some of the shows aired on the channel include - Aswamedham, a unique reverse quiz programme, which recently crossed 500 episodes. The show has already appeared in the Limca Book of World Records. Penmalayalam, a programme for women, deals with real life issues and stories, involving real life characters. The series has been shot in live locations. Pravasalokam another show, is based on the real hard life stories of pravasies, that is those who left the country for in search of greener pastures, especially to the Gulf region.



Another unique show, Raagolsavam, clubs the footage of music from various sectors like film songs, dance, Kathakali, instrumental music, classical music and folk songs.



Bhoomigeetham tells the success stories of farmers and also brings to light the problems faced by them. The channel also conducts live shows like Sing N Win, Hello Good Evening and Medi Talk.



The two-year-old channel recently bagged 17 out of 23 awards held by the Kerala State Television awards declared by the State Government. Apart from this, the channel has also received most of the critics awards and exclusive awards from the State tourism department, health department, child welfare department and the women and social development department, in recognition of the contributions made by the channel in these sectors, says Narayanan



Queried about the channel's lack of viewership, Narayanan had this to say: "Regarding the TRP ratings, we strongly dispute the reliability of the same since 250 households in Kochi decide the distribution of the channel in Kerala and Gulf, which is fundamentally against the basic principles of such ratings. Many of the surveys have already proved that 'Kochi is not Kerala' and 'Kerala is not Kochi'. Our strength for such a conclusion is the acceptance given by advertisers of Kerala. They are the biggest supporters of our channel by giving their patronage and advertisements by the feel of the channel. Yes, we have some problems outside Kerala among the national clients who heavily depend on the TRP ratings."



"The channel is taking various steps to make the channel available to Malayalees all over the world, even at places where our transponder footprints are not available. As a part of that we have already started distribution of Kairali TV in Europe on the Hotbird DTH platform. This month itself we are starting the distribution of the channel in USA and Canada on the Telstar DTH platform. We are also developing programmes for the prime bands of these regions to meet the specific requirements of the audience of these regions, that is for the Indians in the , Gulf Region, Europe and USA separately," says Narayanan.



Though a bold initiative, only time will tell if this "different" formula will make a dent in the channel share currently dominated by Asianet and Surya TV, that thrive primarily on soaps and film-based programmes.

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