Television

UTV to beef up non fiction software production

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MUMBAI: After fiction and animation, software major UTV has now trained its sights on the non fiction segment.

Keen to tap into the huge potential for this segment both in the burgeoning domestic market as well as among overseas broadcasters, UTV plans to float a team of ideators who will be primarily responsible for coming up with original ideas that can be converted into viable series, both here and abroad. Heading the team is old UTV hand Jyotirmoy Saha, the general manager, animation. Saha, who has extensive experience in networking with meeting with buyers for UTV's animation software in international markets, has been given the additional charge of non fiction. Saha also has the mandate for constituting the team of five ideators, responsible for generating the content. The talent pool will be the only addition in terms of investment to the UTV team for building up the non fiction segment, says Saha.

With growing demand, no genre within the non fiction segment is taboo, believes Saha, except perhaps for natural history, which he believes may not be the company's core competency. That apart, Saha is keen to try game show formats, biography formats, current world issues, documentaries for the young...the list can go on.

For starters, UTV has bagged a deal in Washington for an one hour documentary for the National Geographic Channel, details of which Saha is loath to reveal at this point. BBC World's show Back To The Floor is produced by UTV, the first run of which ends on 14 February. It was last year that UTV got seriously down to the business of making non fiction software with the co-production of a 26 episode 'cuisine tourism' show Pan Asia that was aired in five countries including Canada. Pan Asia currently airs on Star World in India.

The non fiction team within UTV will however not restrict itself to domestic channels, as Saha puts it, "Thinking only India cuts off 85 per cent of my market." So, while the team would operate out of India, UTV will actively look at international markets.

UTV also has the growing brood of news channels in its focus. It has produced a series Back To School on the different ways in which children in different parts of the country go to school, including Kashmiri kids whose school is housed in a houseboat, and Kutchi kids in Gujarat whose school is located in the salt pans of the westernmost tip of the country. It has also pitched two shows for the proposed UTV channel for the young, says Saha, the theme for which will be 'kids, learning and adventure'.

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