UTV to evolve from 'content provider' to 'solutions partner'

MUMBAI: Yes, production major UTV is definitely evolving with major expansion plans that promise to change the role of production houses today.

United Television is all set to expand the scope of its services to television channels by setting up a channel planning team. This strategic move has been on the cards for over a month now, and the team should be in place by the end of August or first week of September.

Interestingly, the team is not going to be directly drawn from the TV production business, but would have borne experience in the advertising, marketing and research arena.

The teams vision would largely be driven by insight; their approach being viewer driven and not just reactive to current trends but being proactive to upcoming trends and motivation.

UTV is taking the leap from being a 'supplying content' vendor to a 'solutions partner' which will include understanding larger content space with viewers across segments, ability to translate learnings to address specific channel needs and ambitions as well as instilling a process of "shared understanding" with channels via "common agenda workshops."

In a conversation with, UTV's COO Vikas Varma explains, " UTV products do not exist alone in the marketplace. Along with competition from shows across various channels, there is competition not only for eyeballs on TV sets but for quality time which could be spent in cinema hall, on the internet, in a restaurant or maybe just plain shopping. Our research will take everything that affects our shows into account."

How is this any different from any other production house?

Well, UTV's endeavour will be to continue infusing insight platforms to create continuous engagement in story. Additionally, tracking viewer engagement with story and advise course corrections will also be a part of their strategic planning.

Taking off from client servicing, UTV has plans of extensive channel servicing ensuring timely and quality delivery of quality product from inception to sustain phase. Varma adds, "That would also mean using strategic planning and 'outside the industry creative instigators' for ensuring creative freshness. Here we are talking of a paradigm shift in the way a traditional production house operates. So, to answer your question, this UTV team is not different from other production houses in a small way. Here we are talking of an evolution leap... no missing links in between."

But considering the channels' role in programming, content has evolved quite extensively, will channels be receptive to this concept?

Varma answers, "Logically, all inputs should be welcome. Star, for example, is our client and their business is very important to us. I in my old advertising avatar was doing business with Star and even Set and Zee. They have always welcomed inputs from me in the past and I am sure that will not change.

In terms of UTV's topline and bottom line, the production house is looking at achieving taking a jump from 8.5 hours per week to 30 hours per week by the year end.

Well, surely an insightful plan of action. This might just be the start of a new evolution in the content generation space.

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