A year on air, Star One aims for No. 2 slot in Hindi GEC space

MUMBAI: "Have you ever played the game called Risk? It is all about moving forces here and there. That is exactly what we are doing here, post Star One's arrival."

Thus explained Star India COO Sameer Nair, was how, in a single year, Star One managed to reach what is an enviable position in the Hindi entertainment space.

Nair, during a Q&A session with the media, on the occasion of Star One completing one year, spoke about the gutsy performance the channel put up, reaching out to 71 per cent of its TG population in the first three months itself. He also explained some significant decisions taken on the strategy front and the channel's future plans.

On the ad sales front, Nair said, Star One would soon hike its rates. The channel, which began with the Target Audience (TG) ABC 15-34, had premium rates attached to it. But it was forced to reduce its rates as the strategy didn't work. But, once shows such as Instant Kichdi and The Great Indian Laughter Challenge started to deliver, the channel brought in a hike after seven months of its launch. During the course, the channel has broadbased its TG also, to ABC4+.

"The idea is to broadbase Star One and get the same value as Star Plus. We have already accommodated Star One in the sales package which includes Star Plus, Star Gold and Star Utsav," says Nair.

Another key change, Nair explained, was the co-ordination now happening between the Star Plus team and the Star One team. "Earlier, the operations of Star Plus and Star One were worked out differently. But now, the teams have started working together. For example, we are giving the full network push to our brand new show Nach Baliye," points out Nair.

As it completes one year, Star One has initiated some key changes in its schedule as well. The Monday - Thursday 8 pm serial Remix's duration has been brought down from one hour to half-an-hour. "It is very difficult to do a one hour daily show," Nair reasons.

This year will also see Star One debuting on the horror genre. Darna Mana Hai from the K Sera Sera stable will launch on 14 November (Monday to Thursday, 10 pm). Inspired by the success of Remix, Star One is launching the soap India Calling on the same day. The serial, set in the backdrop of India's call centres, will occupy the 9:30 time slot Monday to Wednesday.

Strategy-wise, Star One has also been pushing the case of of seasonal programming. The channel has already made its intentions clear to bring the second season of the successful chat show Koffee with Karan. Another key property making its comeback through a second season would be The Great Indian Laughter Challenge. According to Nair, the channel is targeting a March 2006 re-launch of the popular show.

"The next three to four months are going to be very complicated as well as interesting. We will be launching a number of shows and our competitors are also planning so many things," Nair sums up.

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