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“In next 3 months, we will launch female skewed shows”: NP Singh

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MUMBAI: Sony Entertainment Television (SET), the Hindi general entertainment channel (GEC) from the Multi Screen Media (MSM) stable has for long been perceived as a male skewed channel, but no longer. The channel is working on a content strategy, which will change the perception of the channel, and all this over the next three months.

“A lot of our recent shows were clearly launched keeping the female audiences in mind, but it was perceived to be male centric. In the next three months, we will be launching shows, which will be focused on female audiences,” MSM CEO NP Singh tells Indiantelevision.com.

It can be noted that MSM’s third GEC Sony Pal, which launched in September 2014, is currently airing repeats from Sony and Sab. The strategy has helped the channel double its viewership. So is Sony looking at reviving its old content strategy in order to improve its viewership numbers? Informs Singh, “While we have always tried making content, which is inclusive, there have been a few shows that are more male skewed. Our objective is to get more women on our channel and therefore the new lineup will have a greater appeal to female audiences, to achieve balance between male and female viewers.”

Sony towards the end of June will launch Suryaputra Karn, which according to Singh will see greater traction from female audiences. “The story of Karan has never been shown on TV as a standalone and has always been a part of Mahabharat. I am sure that it will do well,” opined Singh.

Of the current programming lineup, shows, which have been doing well for the channel are Maharana Pratap, Itna Karo Na Mujhse Pyaar, Hanuman, Indian Idol Junior, CID and Aahat.

Sony Pal: Content Strategy

The channel, which currently is airing old shows from Sony and Sab will continue with its strategy. “We will continue with it till we reach a threshold where we believe that the channel can start introducing original content. Our objective of launching the channel was to appeal to audiences in the heartland and to some degree, Pal has been able to achieve that and we are reaching out to those audiences. With the repeats of shows from Sony and Sab, we have been able to actually double our viewership on the channel. We will proceed with that strategy for some more time and then bring in original content for the channel,” says Singh.

MSM and Sports

The network, which currently has few of the biggest sports properties including FIFA World Cup and Indian Premiere League (IPL), apart from National Basketball Association (NBA) is looking at acquiring a lot of other new sports properties. “The announcement will be made in a couple of months,” informs Singh.

When asked which sporting properties the network was looking at, Singh said, “Football is becoming very popular with the youth today, which is what we are focusing on. But, apart from that, we are also focusing on the other properties.”

Talking about the just concluded IPL season eight, Singh said that the property had seen a 20 per cent plus jump in revenue as compared to season six. “We cannot really compare season seven and eight, since the last season was unique as it came in the midst of the general elections. But if we compare season six and eight, the growth has been encouraging,” he informs.

While the network aired this season of IPL in six different languages, it did not sell the property separately for different language feed. “We will continue airing IPL in different languages in the future seasons, but in terms of sales, we will see if we can sell some languages separately than Hindi,” he said.

The highest viewership for the league came from Sony Max, followed by Sony Six. “Within IPL, High Definition (HD) has done well as we saw growth in both revenues and viewership. There is demand for HD content in the market,” opines Singh.

It can be recalled that the network launched a new channel, Sony Kix, right before IPL kick started. Throwing light on the channel Singh said, “In the past three years, MSM has aggregated a lot of sports content, which we showcased on Sony Six and in some cases on Pix. With Kix coming in, it gives us the flexibility of multiple language feeds and that’s what we did with IPL. It also gives us another platform on which we can actually showcase content, which erstwhile were sitting on other channels of the network,” he points out.

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