Television

'We believe our prime time has more potential' : Ashvini Yardi - Colors senior VP and head of content and creative

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/tv-images/2015/11/28/Ashvini%20Yardi.jpg?itok=C8GPidvn

Colors is celebrating its first year sitting at the top of the ratings cliff. A late entrant, with 10 Hindi general entertainment channels launched before it, the Viacom18 channel climbed to the No. 1 position in 38 weeks time, enjoying the fastest ride to success with backing coming from "disruptive and differentiated" programming, strong distribution and heavy promotions.

From 81 GRPs (gross rating points) and the No 3 position in first week, Colors crossed the 100 GRP mark in its second week; 200 GRPs in the ninth; and 300 GRPs in the 32nd week.





Critics have accused the channel of pumping in huge monies behind high-cost shows. That seems to be paying off, at least for now.





Post a big bang launch with Khatron ke Khiladi, Colors programming team under the stewardship of Ashvini Yardi, former Zee TV creative head, weaved a series of daily and weekly shows that gradually built a loyal viewership base for the channel. Within nine months of launch, shows such as Balika Vadhu, Jai Shri Krishna, Uttaran and Na Aana Is Des Laado, along with non-fictions, are kicking in around 250 GRPs.

 



In an interview with Indiantelevision.com's Gaurav Laghate, Colors senior VP and head of content and creative Ashvini Yardi talks about the strategy behind the programming and the channel's plans ahead.

Excerpts:

Colors launched exactly a year back. What have been the important landmarks for you?

Well, occupying the third spot in the launch week itself, crossing the 100 GRP mark and then to finally becoming the number one channel within a span of eight months has surely been some of the milestones for us. But for me, apart from all these, it was more about meaningful programming.





We created thought provoking subject-based shows like Balika Vadhu, Uttaran and Na Ana Is Des Laado. And we believe that Colors has raised the bar for quality programming, both in fiction and non-fiction shows.

But don't you think it adds on to the audience fatigue?

Not really. On the contrary, it is good for viewers as every channel tries to come up with something different and better in quality. Overall, it gives the viewers an expanded choice.

What has been Colors' strategy behind selecting particular shows?

We knew that we were the 11th player foraying into the GEC clutter. And therefore, to break into this clutter we wanted to offer something different to viewers. However, that different element was always within the same boundary. You see, every show is different, and yet full of emotions. Look, concept or idea remains the same; what matters is the treatment.





We also encouraged new talents.

But on the creative side, how do you decide on the progress of the storyline?

Generally, while a producer thinks only about the show, the channel has a holistic approach towards it. But at Colors, we strongly believe that for any show, vision has to be one person's. And in Colors' case, it is bound to be ours. We look after every show with the perspective of the whole channel.

'Celebrities have fitted in very well for Colors. They, as brands, blended with the channel's property and also helped as promotional vehicles'

In that case, creative differences won't emerge?

Well, our creative team sits with producers to discuss and chalk out everything in detail. But we do make our vision for the show very clear.

And what about deadline pressures? Producers always accuse channels for changing storyline at moment's notice and that they don't get enough time.

For a daily soap, pressure is always there. And that is true for all channels. Even if we have a bank of episodes, there can be last moment changes. Sometimes, on realising that a particular character is getting better response, we decide to increase its length. Or for that matter, if some property is not delivering up to its potential, we may suggest for a change in the storyline or sub plots. The daily soaps are designed in such a way that you can take it to any level. That is the beauty of soaps.

Precisely, that's why some shows run for years and viewers don't enjoy "happy endings". What about finite shows?

We have Balaji Telefilms' Koi Aane Ko Hai, which is a finite show and is seasonal. So it will go off air after completing its first season and will come back again. Also, keeping a bank is possible in finite shows. But a channel has to give a staple diet of fiction, non-fiction and movie content to viewers.

Is the accusation true that Colors is putting in large monies for big ticket shows and spoiling the market?

That is not true. Our programming budget is not more than any other top channel. It is a perception play that we have high-cost shows because of the scale and quality we stress upon. On actual basis, the cost is on par with other shows.

But you roped in stars like Akshay Kumar and Shilpa Shetty for your properties. Don't they hike your budgets? And how important is the star value for you?

For Colors, these celebrities have fitted in very well. They, as brands, blended with the channel's property. Akshay is known for his khiladi image, so he was the best option for Khataron Ke Khiladi.





Shilpa, on the other hand, had won Big Brother in its original format at that time. So, who better than her to host Big Boss. Moreover, these shows with celebrities also helped as promotional vehicles for the channel.

Channels are adopting films into soaps. Your Jeevansathi had striking similarities with the movie Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.

Well, people find connect. Jeevansaathi was a love story, and Indian films have tried so many plots based on love stories that there are bound to be similarities. In the beginning, because of the cast and plot of Jeevansaathi, viewers thought it is like the movie. But it changed entirely. Moreover, an idea can come from a film. But daily soaps have much more than a three-hour plot. So there is a lot more to play with.

But some of the shows are not delivering. Don't you think you should replace them like you did with four other shows?

We believe in giving every show a fair chance. If we see any potential, we go ahead with that show. Right now we are concentrating on the shows which are giving average ratings and have the potential.





The four shows that we have replaced were not getting enough response, so we ended the story logically.

Now that you have a stable GRP base of 250 from programming and movies, what next?

Our aim is to continue delivering on viewer's expectations and to consolidate the primetime. We believe our primetime has more potential than this.
And what about launching the afternoon band?

As I said, there is a lot of scope in primetime; therefore, first we are taking care of this band. After that, we will get into the afternoon band. Moreover, our repeats during afternoons are getting us ratings; so we can wait for some more time before launching shows for this band.

We have also launched the Sunday morning band and are getting good response from it.
Any big idea behind launching the Sunday morning band?

It is in sync with our disruptive and differentiated programming. Sunday morning was a major slot in the 90's. It is still a time when families sit together and watch television, including kids. So we decided to design programmes for this untapped slot.




Our shows Vikram aur Betaal and Shri Swaminarayan are targeted at family viewing with a focus on kids.




Also, now we have launched our weekend primetime with India's Got Talent, Chhote Miyan season 2 and Mahaveer Hanuman. So we are on course with our plans.
Has the economic slowdown played a dampener on your budget and growth plans?

Well, we are ahead of our targets and, thus, have not curtailed any of our plans.
How important is it to be in the top three in the highly competitive Hindi GEC space?

It is a cycle. It is very important to be in the top league in this game. If you are there, you can attract big chunk of revenues to invest in good shows, which ultimately gives you good ratings.

Latest Reads

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/12/05/aparajita_apu.jpg?itok=IY8BAmMu
Zee5 to stream Zee Bangla's latest offering 'Aparajita Apu'

MUMBAI: Zee Bangla has strengthened its primetime line-up with the launch of Aparajita Apu. The serial started airing on 30 November 2020 at 8.30 pm and now, it will be available on the network’s OTT platform, Zee5.

Television TV Channels Regional
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/12/04/india-tv.jpg?itok=a_4GvA1o
India TV announces key promotions to strengthen core operations

India TV has made sweeping changes in its leadership team, elevating four of its key people looking after business revenue, corporate affairs, television operations, and growth and monetisation aspects.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/12/04/uday-shankar.jpg?itok=6EbFV99H
Uday Shankar gets appointed as FICCI president

Here’s another stripe he’s adding to the numerous ones he has got during his fascinating career. Disney Star India chairperson and Walt Disney Co Asia Pacific president  Uday Shankar will take over as FICCI president–elect for 2020-21

Television TV Channels People
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/12/04/colo.jpg?itok=I-dyUR0J
Colors bolsters its primetime with Namak Issk Ka

She is known to win hearts with her thumkas and flamboyance. Wearing her bright lipstick and sheer exuberance, she sets the stage on fire with her impeccable dance moves. Meet Chamcham, the famous professional dancer or nachaniya.

Television TV Channels GECs
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/12/04/sunil.jpg?itok=iidfoyjn
There will be a ‘Mahabharat’ between TV & OTT: BARC’s Sunil Lulla

BARC India CEO Sunil Lulla is in a unique position, being at the helm of a body which is the only industry currency for the 3.5-billion-dollar television advertising market. Needless to say, it comes with a lot of responsibility.

Television TV Channels Viewership
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/12/04/brad.jpg?itok=VhHDulvp
Marketers want news channel viewership data to be more frequent

The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) and the representatives of the news genre have often been at loggerheads; the latter having several complaints regarding how the measurements work.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/12/03/sony.jpg?itok=M_JwLBsT
India tour of Australia moves into second leg with 3 T20I matches

Sony Pictures Sports Network (SPSN), the official broadcaster of India tour of Australia, is all set to air the three upcoming T20I matches between the two cricketing giants, from 4 December, 2020. The T20I matches will be broadcast live and exclusive on Sony Ten 1 in English, Sony Ten 3 in Hindi...

Television TV Channels Sports
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/12/03/isl.jpg?itok=PajDE_Dt
Hero ISL shoots up 16 per cent in viewership

Football fever is going strong in India with the seventh edition of the Hero ISL currently underway. As the first major live sporting league played in the country post the onset of Covid2019, the Hero ISL has logged a significant growth trajectory with a 16 per cent spike in viewership in the...

Television TV Channels Sports
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/12/03/barc01.jpg?itok=lf4_8Sf7
BARC week 47: Sony Sab returns to form

MUMBAI: Sony Sab has regained its position on pay platform, replacing Zee TV on the second spot in week 47 (Saturday 21 November 2020 to Friday 27 November 2020) of Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC) data. Dangal has slipped down to ninth place on pay platform. Pay Platform

Television TV Channels Viewership

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories

* indicates required