Television

Amrita TV plans airing movies in half hour episodes aka soaps

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BENGALURU: In probably what could be the first for a south Indian TV channel, Kerala?s Amrita TV plans to start airing movies during the primetime slot of 9-9.30pm, Monday to Thursday starting 23 June. The programme is titled ?Katha Thudarunnu? (KT) which means ?The Story Continues.?

To start with, Amrita TV plans to air a couple of movies, with each movie running into 6-8 episodes, depending on the length of the film. The first season may continue till August. Since the channel airs a two-minute, half-hourly news bulletin round the clock ("Spot News"), the show/ad/news split will be 22/6/2 minutes.

"As viewing habits and content-mix undergo periodic flux in the small screen landscape, Amrita TV has decided on probing consumer preferences through an innovative move in a serialized movie format by way of the show, ?Katha Thudarunnu.? The moot question is whether a viewer who is willing to remain glued to long-winding soaps for months on end, will show the same involvement for a serialized movie with film stars for a week or two, especially, with a built-in continuity element by way of an anchor-prelude to each episode," says Amrita TV global head (M&C) A. Sushil Kumar.

?Basically, Amrita TV is trying an experiment by pushing the envelope, and not banking on the low-hanging fruit alone. In fact, in Malayalam television, Amrita has taken calculated risks and pioneered many ?firsts?, thereby winning 61 State Awards-the highest for any Indian private broadcaster in just eight years,? explains a source at the channel.

Every episode will be prefaced with an update of what has transpired in the earlier episodes, for the benefit of those who may have missed an episode or two says the channel. Unlike the normal viewing of a movie where a viewer has to make available 2-3 hours at a stretch to see the movie, in this format the audience will have the flexibility to watch it across a few days without losing continuity.

 The first movie to be aired will be a new generation Malayalam hit ?Bicycle Thieves,? directed by Jis Joy, featuring hotshot stars such as Asif Ali and Aparna Gopinath.

 The new show will replace the serial ?Suryakaladi?, which will culminate the 136 episodes run on 19 June. While the chief sponsor for ?Suryakaladi? was Kerala State Financial Enterprises, sources at Amrita TV say that confirmation for sponsorships for KT is expected by 20 June.

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