MSM’s “new initiative”: A Hindi GEC?

MUMBAI: It was around 10 days ago that Multi Screen Media (MSM) announced the reshuffling and restructuring of its senior management. At that time the press release had said: “Anooj Kapoor will assume additional responsibilities as senior EVP and Business Head, SAB TV, and also a new initiative in the Hindi entertainment space.”

When we contacted Kapoor, he was quite enigmatic when quizzed about the new initiative. Ditto with MSM president Rohit Gupta who confirmed that the Network is in the process of putting together “something new” but the details about it would be shared when the time comes.

But we, at, were not willing to be stonewalled and continued to dig around. So far what we have gathered is that the new Sony Entertainment Television offering will be another general entertainment channel – the third in the bouquet after SET and SAB. And it will have mainly fiction shows on its FPC. A senior media planner disclosed that he had been told by Sony executives that the launch is slated to take place within the next six weeks - that is before the financial year ends. 

Sony Entertainment Television is likely to continue to air its existing successful shows such as C.I.D., Crime Patrol (in the crime/thriller genre), Boogie WoogieEntertainment Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega (talent and reality show genre), Comedy Circus (comedy genre) and Kaun Banega Crorepati (quiz genre). SAB, which is among the more profitable services in the Sony Entertainment Television Network, will of course continue with its focus on lighter fare and comedies. 

Industry sources reveal that an example of the type of programming the new channel will air are the shows it has signed on with Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bachachan and their under-revival production house Saraswati Creations.

Interestingly, headhunters are reportedly scouting for new hires to fill up the positions that are cropping up courtesy Sony's new foray, and the mandate has been put out to strengthen the MSM communications team. 

The Network has already got the required government licences for the upcoming channel, confirms a highly placed source, who goes on to say that the launch might be hurried if the TV ratings blackout becomes a reality by March when the High Court is supposed to announce its decision on TAM’s and Kantar’s future.

Star India already has three Hindi GECs – Star Plus, Life Ok, Channel V – while a fourth, Star Utsav airs reruns from it old TV show catalogue. Zee Entertainment has the successful Zee TV and launched Zee Anmol last year, work on a third GEC is believed to be on currently. 

Clearly, India’s TV networks believe in dishing out more to the country’s entertainment hungry TV viewers.

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