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Discovery Jeet gears up for Feb 12 launch

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MUMBAI: Discovery Networks is all set to dive into the Hindi general entertainment channel (GEC) category. Putting rest to speculation, Discovery Jeet, the network’s maiden GEC, will launch on 12 February 2018.

After dominating the infotainment genre on television for the longest time, Discovery Communications is shedding its cocoon to woo viewers with 1000 hours of original fictional content a year. This is in stark contrast to just seven hours of non-fiction that Discovery India gets.

Discovery has done its homework well to come up with its own GEC channel. Speaking to Indiantelevision.com, Discovery Communications India SVP and GM Karan Bajaj said, “The only way to aggregate scale on TV is daily viewership. Everything on Jeet is being mounted as a soap opera.” For the first year, there will be three to four hours of shows to tap this daily-viewing audience and two hours of weekend content for tier 2 and 3 cities.

Bajaj identified the 250 million TV households in India as a pyramid. The top 15 million (which he expects to double to 30 million in five years) have fixed broadband and premium DTH. The next 120 million have cable TV and mobile phones. The last 120 million is split into 20 million with Free Dish and the rest without any TV access. The middle will grow at 10 per cent while the bottom of the pyramid will be exposed to personal TVs for the first time.

Rather than mimic the tried-and-tested models of the competition, Bajaj has decided to focus on ‘perception selling’. With its premium and purposeful content, he said that Jeet will scrape a good chunk of the premium layer. With his strong background in consumer companies such as Kraft, P&G and BCG, he is also giving advertisers a proposition they cannot refuse. He says, “The context of the show where you advertise is at times strikingly in contrast to what the brand stands for. So, to get scale, advertisers have no other option.” He gives the instance of a progressive brand such as Ariel, which he handled during his stint at P&G, where the target audience could be reached only through a regressive soap opera.

However, he says that Jeet will allow brands to flourish by not only providing them with scale but also premium content that matches the brand philosophy. Thus, the channel’s target is to net this creamy layer of India’s TV consumers.

For Jeet, Distribution is an important pre-launch target. The channel will be available on subscription-based pay TV, which is a part of the network’s premium revenue strategy. “We are very singular in our offering so you must have Discovery in your bouquet. It is not a replaceable GEC.”

Even before the launch, the channel had been inundated with requests for international syndication. “The interest in our content is high and these independent affiliate networks have sampled our other content,” Bajaj explained. Christopher McGrath is in charge of global content syndication.

Discovery Communications currently has 12 channels and Discovery Jeet is replacing Investigation Discovery channel. Vijay Rajput is the distribution head.

Since the channel has decided to bite the bullet, it will be pinning its hopes to snag a place in the coveted GEC market.

The shows 

Swami Ramdev: The Untold Story, an Ajay Devgn Films production, has been one of the most talked about shows in the lead up to the launch. The dramatised version of real events will unfold in a daily format of 23 minutes. Another show is Saragarhi, which is a finite series by Contiloe production house, will highlight the plight of 21 Sikh soldiers. Both these shows will have an 85-episode run. Shooting for the first wave of shows for three to four months has already been completed; the channel is onto the next wave.

A supernatural TV series produced by Lotus Talkies Productions has found its way on Jeet as Anjaan, which will be a 45-minute weekend show. Another show is Hero Hiralal that revolves around an auto-rickshaw driver and his seven-year-old daughter who requires a heart transplant. This show is being edited in-house. Both these are infinite. The weekends will primarily feature non-fiction comedy shows.

Also Read:

Discovery launching Hindi GEC in Q4, re-brands ID as Discovery Jeet

Discovery Communications launches ID, TLC HD and Animal Planet HD World

Discovery Communications acquires majority share in FoodFood

Video consumption by premium audience on digital exploding: Karan Bajaj

Discovery to launch digital channels, ties up with telcos

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