Life OK rides on Screen Awards’ success

MUMBAI: When one of television’s biggest properties – the Screen Awards – moved from Colors to Life OK, the second Hindi general entertainment channel from the Star stable, some feared there could be a drop in viewership for the Bollywood award show.

Life OK proved the naysayers wrong. The awards ceremony this year had a whopping 9.0 million TVTs, 23 per cent more than the 6.9 million TVTs (ratings provided by Life OK) garnered by Colors for the last year’s edition of the awards show.

The Screen Awards saw Life OK’s gross viewership rising sharply. The channel’s GVTs jumped to 375 million in Week 4 of TAM ratings from 347 million a week earlier. The show on Life OK had Kamla Pasand as the title sponsor and 13 other sponsors.

Life OK officials chose to remain tight-lipped about the financial details of the show. Industry sources said the channel was expecting Rs 1,00,000 to Rs 1,50,000 for 10 seconds, but closed most deals between Rs 80,000-1,00,000.

“The 20th Annual Life OK Screen Awards were the channel’s first big-ticket Bollywood event and we are delighted with the response from our viewers not only in India but all over the world. With a clear intent to disrupt both – how an event is programmed and marketed, with Screen properties, we managed to reach out to more viewers than the biggest events and movies on television (in this year so far) – to be precise 74 million people,” said Life OK general manager Ajit Thakur.

“This is just the beginning of Life OK’s journey to the next level – watch out for more.”

The 20th Annual Screen Awards themed ‘Commemorating heroes’ celebrated excellence in over 30 categories across the entire sweep of filmmaking in the Hindi and Marathi film industry.

For Thakur, the success of the awards owes mainly to ‘content’ apart from extensive research and hard work.

“We have always believed that when we pick up something new, we want to do it differently and in a Life OK way. This is why we picked up Screen Awards amongst all the awards. And even there, we did not go for regular humour which is associated with all the awards. We gave it a substantial meaning and that is where Shah Rukh Khan was very supportive and the event was a full family entertainer with the important theme of ‘Heroes integrated’ in the show,” he explained.

Thakur said a lot of the content was personally driven by Khan as he took interest and invested time. SRK was leaving for Dubai for another award show when the Life OK scriptwriter accompanied him on the flight and improvised the script.

The content was also repackaged. “When the Screen Awards shifted from Colors to our channel, everyone thought ratings will drop. But the reason why we partnered and Screen came on-board was they saw a match of content and intent where we believe entertainment must come with inspiration,” said Thakur. 

A special awards category ‘Hero of the Year’ was introduced. There were special moments galore, what with SRK introducing heroes or Deepika Padukone performing on a giant nagada several feet above the ground – her act was an ode to the emotional journey of a woman.

The actors, who performed in the show, started rehearsing 10 days prior to the shoot. The acts were choreographed by Geeta Kapoor and the set was designed by production designer and art director Omung Kumar. The set designing took five-six days. To capture the interesting moments, close to 20 fixed cameras were used.

Apart from the content, Life OK’s marketing strategy worked well too. A month prior to the event, a huge outdoor campaign was held across Delhi, Mumbai and other cities in Maharashtra with SRK. Ads were released across major newspapers on the day of the telecast as well as a week before it was aired on the channel. Promos were aired across the Star Network and even outside of it. Digitally, #LifeOKScreenAwards was trending on Twitter on the day of the telecast.

The post-production work was completed in less than 10 days. Shot on 14 January, the awards were telecast on Life OK on 25 January, a day prior to the telecast of the Filmfare Awards on Sony Entertainment Television.

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