FYI TV18 rollout with Chetan Bhagat and Vicky Ratnani

MUMBAI: With the rise in factual entertainment and lifestyle genre on Indian television, A+E Network and TV18 have added one more infotainment channel FYI TV18 to its network. The channel was officially announced on Thursday after a three day soft run on various platforms. The channel started airing SD and HD feeds together from 4 July 2016.

FYI TV18 is a factual entertainment channel. It will be distributed on all major DTH and cable operators by 11 July. It is leveraging its partnership with IndiaCast for distribution. This is a second channel in the same space from the network. “The difference between the channels is the content strategy. History TV18 is focused on historical events and individual pursuits while FYI TV18 will be entirely based on relationships people share, it has the concept in its roots of relation bonds” said A+E Network MD Avinash Kaul.

FYI TV18 is predominantly focusing on content strength for growth; the management has high expectations from its human stories that it will have expanded audiences and reach with its progressive content and Hindi used a medium.

The channel claims to focus on middle and top tier viewers. Kaul, while talking to the media said that presently, there is a gap in the content flow. Either the shows are made for urban or for rural audiences. There is a lack of progressive content for tier II city audiences. FYI TV18 is targeting to fill in that gap with its factual content and focus on Hindi as the language for its shows. Therefore, the channel will reach out to the mid and top level of pyramid. “The channel is bound to demographics, and the programming is Hindi. Therefore it will travel to a bigger lot” added Kaul.

At present, the channel will roll out 35 per cent of locally produced content and 65 percent internationally acquired content, acquired from FYI international. The first two Indian shows are Real 2 States Couple – the show follows the travails of a cultural dating couple, trying to adjust to each other’s families. The show is to be hosted by novelist Chetan Bhagat. The other show is rivals-in-law, hosted by Chef Vickey Ratnani. It follows a cook off between a daughter-in-law and a mother-in-law.

Speaking about the two shows Kaul added, “The shows are based on relationships between people before anything else. These shows are stories that everyone will relate to.” The channel has aimed to make simple shows with less glamourous and real life stories. The next show will be a home styling show, planned sometime next month. That production has also been undertaken by BBC.

Popular international shows like Man Vs Child, Tiny House Nation and Married at First Sight will be aired on the channel. The channel plans to grow locally produced shows gradually. FYI TV18 is focusing on Hindi as a medium. Even international shows will be dubbed in Hindi. Other language feeds will be Tamil and Telugu.

For the first year, FYI TV18 will be encrypted but free to air, later it will switch to a subscription based modle. There are high expectations from the venture. According to the management, the soft run received viewership of over 1 million in an hour’s time, so when it launches on all major DTH and cable platforms, the channel is expected to reach 90 million households.

On the digital front, FYI TV18 is on the verge of launching a mobile application and website. Its content is also available on Facebook Live. The channel might have exclusive digital content, but that is yet to be revealed.

Kaul informed that a 360 degree marketing strategy has been planned to establish FYI TV18. Digital marketing has been given a lot of importance. Apart from digital, the channel and the shows will be promoted on cross channels of the group and outside heavily. There is also investment on OOH and radio as well. The channel has finalised deals with three to four brands as advertisers and is targeting mass products brands to come on board. The names could not be revealed for now.

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