Viacom18 continues period drama experimentation with 'Jhansi ki Rani'

Its previous show Dastaan-E-Mohobbat didn't work well with the viewers

MUMBAI: Viacom18 is not one to stay down after one fall. Recently, the network released a periodical historical drama Dastaan-E-Mohobbat on Colors but when it failed to grab eyeballs, it has swiftly decided to replace it with another in the same genre – Jhansi Ki Rani produced by Contiloe Pictures.

Viacom18 Hindi mass entertainment and kids TV network head Nina Elavia Jaipuria said, “The show Dastaan-E-Mohobbat didn’t click very well. Since we are in the business of entertainment, there comes a time when viewers embrace us and sometimes they don’t. Therefore, we learnt from our past and moved on to new things because entertainment is all about finding the right viewers and finding the right content for them. So, unfortunately, it didn’t do really well for us and it’s off-air right now.”

The new tariff regime was also likely to impact broadcasters. Jaipuria said that it puts the control of choice squarely in the hands of the viewer. She added that the second benefit of this regime is that it brings in the much-needed transparency into the system, with under-reporting promising to become a thing of the past. “As business becomes more streamlined and transparent, I feel the process of content creation, curation and distribution will significantly improve. Interestingly, the future for the broadcasters will now undergo a subtle yet tectonic shift – from networks bundling and pushing channels to consumers, it will become consumers pulling in channels that they want to watch. This, I believe, in the mid-long term will lead to content quality dialling up even further,” she added.

Most broadcasters bundled their long-tail channels with their best ones to increase uptake. While it is likely that these channels will suffer, Jaipuria doesn’t think so. According to her, niche channels will not be affected. “While Nick is number one and Sonic is not, that doesn’t mean Sonic can’t make it. Sonic has Shiva. Kids who love Shiva will anyway watch it. I think it is not about the platform but it is about the loyalty and the shows you have today.”

Meanwhile, two big national events are coming up - IPL and Elections, which may hamper viewership of Hindi GECs. Jaipuria said, “What happens in any country when there is large mass viewership, there is one television household and the viewership time gets divided. But like I told you that the power of content is so much that there is no viewer who is going to stay without television for 2 months and without their characters. It’s the eleventh IPL and Hindi GECs have always done well. It is not that people stop watching GECs. So to my mind, there will be a little division of time and little more time given to different genres of channels. But people will not stop watching their favourite shows and characters.” She is confident that Viacom18 has a very strong line up and there’s no reason that it will be losing viewership on the channels.

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