"When Class gets going, the Classiest survive"

The idiot box as it is called, is after all an inevitable part of our lives, and its essence is not in its being but all that goes on in it- the content. The content that we see, the content that takes us to another world, a world of make believe, a world that takes us away from the banal boring daily routine.

This content is all-important and all encompassing. But ever thought what goes into this manufacturing of lives, stories and mirroring them on the screen? A lot. There is a whole business of content. And it is Darwinian to the core; only one rule dominates this business-' the survival of the fittest'.


"The onus of capturing his attention and grip from the beginning to the end of a programme rests with the content aggregators"     


The first step in the business of content is to fully understand the medium. Its meaning, its very essence. Television reaches as many as 79 million homes across the country. Consequently, it has a substantial influence on the day-to-day lives of the people, their perception and their thinking. A large number of channels are aired throughout the nation, telecasting programmes ranging from current affairs, sports and business news to soaps, films etc. To stand as a fore-running competitor in this business is an exciting challenge to be undertaken by all persons who've indulged themselves in this eventful line.

In today's world, the fundamental underlying the television business is that content dissemination has moved from push to pull. It effectively means that till now television producers were broadcasting and people were receiving the content. Today, people have so much choice with respect to the fact that there are over 90 channels on air at this moment of time, that they decide what to accept. So power has shifted from the giver to the recipient.

Considering the fact that the consumer is the viewer who will eventually decide what he wants to view, the onus of capturing his attention and grip from the beginning to the end of a programme rests with the content aggregators.

Giving due weight to the fact that it is the viewer who will decide what he wants to view, any programme must ensure that it constitutes the following.

# Value and substance in the content. Value in the form of meaning to the viewer or reason to the viewer to view the programme. Substance and interesting matter to draw the viewers towards the programme.

# Research the subject thoroughly to get a grip on the matter on which the programme is to be made

# Identification. To know and identify appropriately the target audience and accordingly position the program and build its concept and treatment plan

# Concept. Based on the research and information gathered in the preliminary stage, conceptualize the entire programme to get a holistic view as to what the final product is going to be like

# Treatment. The next step is to decide on the treatment plan of the programme. How will the programme appear on the screen? The treatment must be of a kind so that the attention of the audience can be gripped and interest can be created in the audience to actually 'pull' him/her towards the programme.

# Psychoanalysis. It is essential to understand what appeals to the viewer, along with the concept and treatment, packaging and marketing plays an important role in creating recall value in the audience mind. TRP, the proof of popularity, can be consistent only with this recall value and an element of hype. After all, in the contemporary state of affairs- the icing on the cake is as necessary as the cake itself.

# Demand. Fickle mindedness, though difficult to assign, is after all a reality of the audience's mind. Boredom sinks in too easily, too soon. Hence, what is supplied to the audience has to be always fresh and never prolonged. Essentially in sync with changing tastes and preferences of the viewer.

# Too much media. A variety of channels that offer a plethora of choice to the audience. To catch the fancy of the viewer requires the content to be distinct and different from the mundane content offered by other channels otherwise. Uniqueness ('unique' has been revealed as the most popular genre in an Economic Times survey) can be offered to a viewer, the entire procedure of inception, conceptualization, treatment, packaging, polishing and marketing has to be undertaken. Offering a 'unique' content to the audience does not necessarily mean going in for something unexplored, but a re-exploration of the ordinary to make it extraordinary.

# Viewer interaction and viewer participation must be invited to further the interest of the audience and attract them towards the programme. Feedback and suggestions at times provide valuable inputs that help improve the content, and consequently, the audiences' interests can be served better. Improvising the programme to help in serving the interest of the audience better, attracts the viewer towards the programme.

# Technical Competence. State of the Art equipment and technically superior production capabilities ensure better transmission and viewing quality and are thus mandatory.

# And finally, all of the above factors must be undertaken and synergy must be brought about in all the above activities to create a sustainable business model that generates revenue for itself to carry on its activities.

With the pull of the viewer towards the programme established, the market standing of the content aggregator improves. As credibility rises, a brand is created. Branding helps in bringing goodwill to the producer and ensures stability and market worth to him. Quite often the name sells-though this is by no means an excuse for compromise. Important to remember that the person on the other side is smart, educated and choosy. So, it all boils down to sincerity, a sincerity toward the viewer, a genuine moral responsibility, a sincerity toward all that is earlier mentioned and an adherence to all that one feels is correct and true. Of course, to remember-when the class gets going, the classiest survive.

(The author is CMD of BAG Films, a TV software production house. The views expressed here are personal and indiantelevision.com need not necessarily endorse them. Her email: anurradha@bagfilmsonline.com)

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