Reality show, soap in Zoom's sights

MUMBAI: It's just completed a year on air and Zoom, the Times Group's glamour, entertainment and lifestyle channel, has a whole host of fresh new initiatives laid out on the programming front. Coming soon on the channel are a reality show and at least one soap.



Elaborating further on the channel's plans, Upen Roop Rai, COO, Television Division, says, "In the first year, our aim was really to establish our positioning as a glamour, lifestyle and entertainment channel. Now, as we enter the second year, we are looking at introducing some fresh new initiatives on the programming front."

"To begin with, we are looking at doing a reality show and are even open to bringing in the soap culture to the channel. But, both the genres will be set into our paradigm, which is glamour and lifestyle. We definitely believe that the reality genre does work and that soaps will bring in some amount of appointment viewing."

On being queried further though, Rai refused to go into details, except to say, "All I can say is that the reality show will be adapted from an international format. It will be highly interactive and gadgety. The soaps will have an oomph factor to it and will be fitting into our culture of glamour and lifestyle. We are in the process of working on these shows and probably by early 2006 we should have them on air."



As for immediate plans, the channel continues with its experimentation to target metrosexuals tired of the saas bahu sagas. Says Aparnaa Pande, head of programming, "All our programmes revolving around glamour, lifestyle and entertainment have had very successful runs. We have always been open to feedback and experimentation. Some of our top programmes like Page 3, Pop Korn have been very successful with our viewers. In fact, Pop Korn, which is one of the highest rated shows on the channel, is one of its kind in the space. Since here we talk about a television stars life and also bring in scoops. Then there were some Bollywood and Zoom shows like Filmi Fever as also movie premieres like the Big Nite."

As of now, the channel is believed to be an ideal hangout for viewers who want to `snack in and out'. Also, most of the programming is more skewed towards glamour and Bollywood and less of lifestyle. To which Rai adds, "In India, the word 'lifestyle programming' would really mean different things in different contexts. So, in places like Kanpur our Page 3 parties and fashion shows are a real hit."

On the advertising front, the channel has more than 120 brands on board, which includes all the large spenders. Says Rai, "There are really no free lunches on the channel. And in fact, we are not encouraging low spending clients to be with us."

The channel has much activity planned in October. The month, dubbed the Big "O", will have the following activities:

The Happy Hour on Zoom will kick of the Big 'O' (on the 6th, 7th and 8th of October) - this will be essentially a sprinkling of the best Zoom shows.

The month will also feature the best parties (The Zoom party and The Bombay Times party are two which will be the most exclusive and recent). As part of the Big "O" will be features that will essentially do something unique around Star birthdays.

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