year 2012 saw increased focus on localisation in the
infotainment and lifestyle genre to attract more viewers
both in terms of local content and providing
Indian language audio feeds. Digitisation also prompted
broadcasters to launch expansion strategies with audience
segmentation and fragmentation in mind. Another visible
trend is the focus on sub genres as competition intensified
in the infotainment or lifestyle space.
International Channels (Fic) entered the lifestyle genre
by re-branding Fox History and Entertainment as Fox
Traveller. Armed with two strong brands in the portfolio,
the aim was to build strong identities for National
Geographic and Fox. Explains Fic India managing director
Keertan Adyanthaya, "National Geographic is building
on its brand values of knowledge, education and research
to focus on Infotainment. Fox, on the other hand, is
the lead brand in the lifestyle space. Lifestyle is
the dark horse of TV and has immense potential.
if the ad pie was the reason to move into lifestyle,
Adyanthaya counters saying that audience was the main
reason. We see a large segment of the audience
who's interested in lifestyle and we have global strengths
in lifestyle that we can leverage to provide content
to this audience.
Traveller has brought a certain zest and energy to the
lifestyle space. The channels aim is to whip up
a whole host of experiences- not just in places that
havent been seen or experienced before, but even
in the most mundane of the destinations. The channel
is insightful about what the young traveler in India
seeks, and presents it with an air of aspiration,
is an important strategy for Fox Traveller. About 35
per cent of the channel's content is Indian compared
to just 20 per cent on NGC. Some of the local shows
include It Happens Only in India which travels
to some unvisited places; Twist of Taste with
Vineet Bhatia which sees the Michelin star chef
in a very unexpected way; and Whats with
Indian Men, hosted by two women presenting the
flavour of towns through one of its most important aspect-
the channel launched a Bangle feed before going into
other languages like Hindi. Adyanthaya explains that
the Bangla team was better prepared and had got into
a good rhythm of versioning and they were able to deliver
to an earlier timeline than planned. It also celebrated
the anniversary with an HD feed.
to fortify its position in India, archrival TLCs
focus also rested on doing a mix of international and
local shows. In an attempt to ward off competition,
the channel identified genres within the lifestyle space.
Says Discovery South Asia senior VP, GM Rahul Johri,
"We, for instance, identified the grooming genre
as a popular mix for the Indian audiences. Be
Blunt With Adhuna Akhtar is one such show. We
also relied on signature international shows like No
Reservations and Project Runway to
offer a complete viewing experience. "
Good Times continued to adopt a 360 degree approach
to reach the viewer. We have increased our touch-points
and frequency of connecting directly with the viewer
- be it through on-ground, in-person interaction between
the viewer and our anchors / experts, or virtually via
the Internet," says NDTV Lifestyle CEO Smeeta Chakrabarti.
Good Times is hyper active on social media and stresses
on building a loyal community on its website. "Instead
of simply showcasing the programme schedule and the
other obvious constituents of a typical TV channel website,
we have created a platform for like-minded people to
discuss their interests with each other and interact
one-on-one with our anchors," avers Chakrabarti.
Indian origins, NDTV Good Times feels it is uniquely.
"Nearly all our content is tailor-made for the
Indian lifestyle viewer. This edge that NDTV Good Times
has remains unmatched till date, adds Chakrabarti.
TV18, the joint venture between A+E Networks and TV18,
tried to shake up the market with its spread across
regional languages. Having launched History TV18, it
is looking at three channels to give it a bouquet.
TV18, aiming to show history in a contemporary way,
launched in eight languages and added one more, making
it the first of its kind. Another first was roping in
Salman Khan who is normally associated with Bollywood
and Hindi GECs.
TV18 GM marketing Sangeetha Aiyer notes that while progress
has been made, there is a long way to go to achieve
what it has done in the US. "History is a leader
in the US and other key markets of the world. We are
yet to achieve that in the India market," she says.
terms of the way forward, she says that the first key
step to consolidate ratings is to strengthen the distribution
footprint. Expansion in 1mn+ town class, therefore,
will be important. The channel is also pinning its hopes
on digitisation as the factual genre gets significant
contribution to viewership from digital cable and DTH
platforms. "So we are ensuring that we focus on
our presence and availability through these broadcast
platforms," she avers.
with focussing on connectivity and availability to be
optimal and accelerated, the broadcaster is also working
on the programming strategy and content mix. "A
few subgenres within the factual entertainment genre
have shown traction for us," says Aiyer.
elaborates that the sub genres that will be focussed
on going forward are 1) Action/ adventure/ thrills;
2) informative programming packaged in an entertaining
way like The Works, Food Tech, etc that are character
driven; and 3) India centric content. The aim is to
continue to strengthen this sub genre. Another type
of content that is working is topical stuff which will
be more like a tactical strategy to get the much needed
spikes, she points out.
will be key going forward. For instance it has a show
about Australians looking to get a break in Bollywood.
The aim of language feeds is to reach out to markets
like Gujarat where in past infotainment has not had
much impact due to the lack of availability of content
in that language.
points to a serious push being given to secondary channels
like Discovery Science. The first step was to establish
its unique proposition and gain traction. On the
back of an encouraging response, we launched the Hindi
feed of Discovery Science. The discerning Indian viewer
wants to be informed and entertained about the various
advancements from around the world.
the content side, Discovery across its channels looked
to continue presenting topical and event led programming.
Throughout the year, Discovery Channel continued
to bring topical programmes like One Giant Leap: A Neil
Armstrong Tribute, Inside Indian Television, Titanic:
The Aftermath, Revealed: The Making of Ra.One and many
more, says Johri.
male targeted Discovery Turbo aims at being a trendsetter.
One highlight was the show Khardung- La Race
Car Extreme along with Red Bull to coincide with the
F1 race in Delhi.
Planet looked to grow the overall brand experience with
initiatives such as Where Tigers Rule, a
month long programming initiative dedicated to the cause
of tiger conservation and Yeh Mera India,
a celebration of the countrys wildlife.
far as archrival Fics flagship channel NGC is
concerned, the focus has been on placing the channel
better as well as being on more feeds. Shows that have
gotten traction include Taboo, 'Banged Up
Abroad' and 'India @ 10'.
his take on the progress that infotainment made this
year, Adyanthaya is positive noting that there was
significant growth in the infotainment genre this year,
first with the entry of History and then with the resurgence
of National Geographic. Also the smaller channels
like Discovery Turbo and Nat Geo Wild continued to grow
and make inroads into the genre.
says that Nat Geo Wild is now carried across all DTH
platforms and will also be available on most multi-system
operator (MSO) platforms as soon as digitisation takes
Challenge: Infotainment, though, has its set of
challenges. Adyanthaya explains that in infotainment,
there is no single content formula like the GECs have.
Our audience is made up of people who are curious
and want to know more about the world around them and,
hence, we create a large variety of shows which cater
to the need.
costs is another challenge. It is expensive to produce
shows for infotainment because of the amount of research
and due diligence that needs to be done. In fact, it
is due to costs that Fic is not looking at more languages
cost-benefit ratio far outweighs business sense in doing
any additional languages," says Adyanthaya.
Ad Scene: The ad pie of the lifestyle and infotainment
genre is estimated at Rs 4 billion and is expected to
show double digit growth.
genre draws in maximum ad support from the FMCG category.
Aiyer says th challenge is to change that established
rule. "We have tried and have succeeded in bringing
on board other categories actively like banking, telecom
and consumer durables.
however, notes that things have been tough for the lifestyle
genre. "Genres that are not considered mass
such as lifestyle are particularly worse hit
during periods of economic slowdown. At such times,
not only does the ad pie shrink (or, at best, exhibit
lower growth) but advertisers also prefer to play safe
and allocate a greater share to mass genres such as
will NDTV Good Times show revenue growth this year?
We are focussed on keeping old clients while adding
new ones. We expect to grow revenues over last year,
impact of digitisation: Digitisation is expected
to be especially beneficial for the infotainment and
lifestyle genre. But it will need a change in the mindset
of how players operate and think.
explains that until now, subscription was a B2B led
vertical. We will now need to re-calibrate our
thinking to it being a B2C vertical. Earlier channel
communication was strongly dependent on show-led marketing
in order to grow viewership. This will need to change
to a marketing strategy where we ask people to subscribe
to the channel. Co-marketing with MSO / DTH platforms
will gain even more importance.
on the strategy in a digital world Adyanthaya says
that the company is re-looking at its communication
plans and are also in discussion with platforms on collaborative
partnerships to push the subscribers into opting for
there are challenges. Adyanthaya admits that unfortunately,
there are some parties who are more interested in continuing
with the status quo. Some of them havent
recognised the opportunity and some have their own shallow,
short term interests in mind, he says.
big question is when the ratio between advertising and
subscription tilts in favour of the latter. The split
for Fic, according to Adyanthaya, is about 70:30 in
favour of advertising. He does not expect any earth
shattering hikes in subscription revenue in the short
term. "There will be a gradual growth in this stream
once declaration of subscriber numbers grow. The growth
will come mainly from real subscriber numbers and not
from any hikes in channel rates," he explains.
Johri, the expectation is that the digitisation process
will amplify the progress of unique content channels.
We believe that Animal Planet would be a key beneficiary
of this trend and would attract true value for its content
and brand reputation.