"The idea is to take Indian fashion to international audiences" : Anita Horam Fashion TV India programming and creative services head

Anita Horam's career graph reads like the glossary of television channels operating in India. In the 12 years she has spent in the profession, she has hopped from Channel V to MTV as senior producer, besides having conceptualized and worked on Style, a show on fashion and lifestyle on BBC, another Style South Asia for CNN, apart from having done project based work for Sony, Star Plus, Zee English, Discovery, Channel Nine Gold… the list goes on.

Her life in media started over a decade ago with the Times of India, Delhi, from where her interest in fashion and lifestyle programming blossomed into a passion for packaging and graphic design. Till Style came along on BBC, there wasn't much of lifestyle programming happening on Indian television and Horam was one of the pioneers on the scene. A self confessed lover of television, Horam is fascinated by reality TV and hopes to bring the genre into FTV India, though today the idea may just be a glint in the eye!

Brought into FTV India in December 2002 to fill a post created for her, Horam already has several plans in place. Innovative marketing initiatives, a proposed advertising campaign and a changed look for the channel in the months ahead are just some of them. In a conversation with's Aparna Joshi, Horam outlines her plans for FTV India.

Excerpts -.

What is the vision for FTV India in the months to come?

The FTV India focus is on building a strong relationship within the fashion fraternity, working closely with designers and design in general, not necessarily as a broadcaster. We are liaising closely with not only the top designers in India, but also the middle rung ones whom we are trying to integrate through our programming as well as our offline events, but also the aspiring designers whom we will promote through scholarships like the one we have with Wigan & Leigh…

The idea is to take Indian fashion to international audiences.

What is prime time for FTV in India? Who is the TG and how do you attract it without much conspicuous advertising?

Prime time is generally 10 pm and onwards when you see the latest stuff. That is the time we put on the original half hour of Indian programming which is then repeated at various day parts to make the two hours of local programming. The channel is targeting signature viewership, not appointment viewing. What we are looking at is wallpaper viewing, which means viewers can come and leave the channel for short spurts without any disruption in viewing. Everybody may not be a FTV consumer, but brand awareness is definitely high. If you travel and have the spending power, you will understand what the channel is all about.

As for the press campaign we envisage, that too will be very high end and very focused - we are a niche product and are not about to change our idiom or go mass based.

GRP ratings for FTV India are highest in Kolkata followed by Delhi and Bangalore at almost the same level. With regard to reach, Kolkata again has the highest numbers followed by Bangalore. The core audience is essentially the 18- 34 years Sec A audience in major metros who can appreciate and afford fashion.

What will the increased Indian programming on FTV be like?

While the content will be from the region, the format will be kept international. We prefer short duration clips, heavy on music but less of talk.

As part of the Indianisation, the idea is to take designer content from the ramp shows and to shoot on locations that are aesthetically appealing. European viewers are fashion savvy, but Indians, not always. The idea is that Indian designers who are featured get a chance to showcase their wares on an international platform, as the Indian feed is telecast in 130 countries where FTV is seen as well.

"As regards advertising on the channel, what is important for us is synergy with the brand, whether they be top of the line consumer products or lifestyle brands"

Has the atmosphere improved for FTV in India after Ravi Shankar Prasad took over as the information and broadcasting minister?

Actually, the channel was a victim of perception since its entry into the country. Of course, the European ideal of fashion is very different from the Asian one, leave alone the Indian one. India ranks as a very big market for us, the others being Russia and China. When we realized that content was not palatable to Indian 'family audience' tastes, we changed some of the content on the channel, particularly the one that appears on times that are considered Indian viewing times. The question of being continuously under the magnifying glass doesn't really arise now, as we are quite in the clear.

What about advertising on the channel?

Although I cannot reveal figures, as regards advertising on the channel, what is important for us is synergy with the brand, whether they be top of the line consumer products or lifestyle brands. Our advertisers also understand that we add value to their brands - in a way, we build their brands by being FTV. The brands currently advertising on the channel are Provogue, Add Gel, Asmi, Evian, Carta Blanca, Fiat Palio, Shock, Lakme, Indian Airlines, Wills Sport, Mysore Sandal, Honda Siel, Le Pashmina, Trigger Jeans, Liberty, L'Oreal, Nokia, Raymonds, Reebok, Samsung, AC Black, Sheetal Design Studio, Benetton, Swarovsky, Kingfisher, Smirnoff and others.

Isn't much of viewership on Fashion TV India voyeuristic rather than serious?

That's not true. Although there may be some amount of voyeuristic viewing, we have not monitored it seriously. For us, what matters is the serious viewer who is clued into what is happening at what time on the channel. Our research shows that it is the SEC A viewer in the metros who is the recurring viewer.

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