BENGALURU: A first glance at the channel’s brief, and one could be excused if he or she thought that it was another ‘bhakti’ or religious channel. The intro reads – Saral Jeevan telecasts non-fiction programming with a focus on mythology, Ayurveda, yoga, vaastu as a science and insights from Indian heritage and culture. But that is not the case, at least not so far.
CG Parivar Global Vision (CGPGV) will be launching a Kannada infotainment channel on 19 February.
CGPGV founder and vaastu specialist Dr Chandrasekhar Guruji is a familiar face to most viewers of Kannada news channels – this includes Suvarna News on which he has been on air once a week since the past five years or so, Public TV, Samay and BTV. Guruji says that he will continue with his shows on other channels, while having a one-hour daily show on his own channel. He also has plans to start a similar Hindi channel over the next one year, and expand to eleven languages over time. The channel’s content will be graphics, animation and special effects heavy.
“Our channel philosophy is to present inspiring, motivational and historic content, which is positive in nature. Our positioning ‘Betterment of mankind’ is a true summary of our channel objectives. Our commitment to influence positive vibes among the masses is the single biggest reason for the launch of Saral Jeevan,” says Guruji.
“With unique and first of its kind blend of tradition and modernity in the content, the channel will surely be the dynamic face of mythology and infotainment genre among Kannada viewers. Known as world’s oldest civilisation and cultural capital of the world, India has ample legacy that deserve to be presented to today’s generation in an interesting way. Of course, we had to deploy chunk of our energies in to research and graphics. But it’s totally worth it,” adds Saral Jeevan editor MS Raghavendra.
Saral Jeevan business head Raghunatha Reddy said, “Getting into infotainment, that is ‘very Indian’ in nature, is a strategic experiment. And we never wanted to be one more player in any given space of television. Today, we are happy with the content design; as Saral Jeevan will be filling in the biggest gap by providing knowledge that is entertaining. And the USP of such programming is that it cuts across all age groups of viewers. What’s more, Saral Jeevan has no straight competition; rather it gains from all genres of channels.”
How is it different?
Reddy explained how Jeevan Saral was different from the conventional religious, news or GECs, citing one of the shows Mahapayna as an example. “This is the story of Ram’s journey from Ayodhya to Sri Lanka, via of course Nepal. We retrace the steps that he made then today. So if he visited a temple, we show the temple as it is now. Of course, we can’t go into the past shoot images from there, so we have a strong in-house graphics and special effects team that creates the images of the characters in the Ramayana (and all our other shows) and intertwine them within the story as we retrace Rama’s steps across locations as they are in modern days. This is a daily and we already have three months’ content with us,” he said.
“At present all our content is produced in-house. We have a number of teams that create the content for us. Our total strength is in excess of 100, and our graphics team is 15 strong. I think we are probably the first channel in India with this concept. We are not a religious channel, we are an infotainment channel,” informs Reddy.
“We will wait and see how we perform, before we can freeze a rate card. Our marketing teams have approached agencies, clients and local advertisers,” revealed Reddy.
As far as branding and capturing viewers’ eyeballs is concerned, Reddy said that an advertising campaign across Kannada news and GECs is in the final stages of completion. Around 15 to 20 mobile vans have started moving around Bengaluru to promote the channel. Over the next two days, stickers will be pasted on 500 - 600 auto rickshaws, and about 100 local BMTC will carry Saral Jeevan branding.
For OOH, the channel has planned over 100 hoardings in 15 major cities of Karnataka, besides almost 3,000 of Guruji’s followers across the state will be putting up self-funded hoardings. “So many of Guruji’s followers have volunteered to put up his hoardings, that we have had no option but to give them general creative guidelines and imagery for hoardings that they want to put up about the channel outside their homes and places of work,” said Reddy.
“Test signals are on e-Digital and will commence today on ACT and Siti Cable. We are in advanced stages of discussion with other players, including Hathway and Den (Amogh). We should be on their networks by the launch date. It will be two to three months before we launch on the DTH platform,” said Reddy.
Saral Jeevan’s key shows include the following:
Mahapayana: The epic journey of Rama to be aired Monday - Saturday at 9 pm.
Manakulada Olathigagi (Betterment of Mankind): Live program with Chandrasekhar Guruji to be aired Monday -Sunday at 8 pm.
Jnanapada: A compilation of motivating and inspiring folk songs in Kannada to be aired from Monday - Saturday at 7 pm and 10.30 pm.
History: A biography on historical legends that include kings, warriors and freedom fighters to be aired from Monday - Saturday at 9.30 pm.
Sadhuparampara: The Himalayan Yogis have many faces in the spiritual sub-continent. Each group has its own characteristics and significance. Sadhuparampara decodes the mystery behind the extreme tribes and will be aired from Monday - Saturday at 10 pm.
Mannina Maga: Dedicated to farmers the show intends to present information and knowledge for planned and effective agriculture leading to better productivity to be aired from Monday - Saturday at 7.30 pm.
Ajjihelida Kathe (The grandmother storybook): To be aired from Monday - Saturday at 6.15 pm and on Sunday at 1 pm, this insightful moral story series will feature Zen and Akbar-Birbal stories with fully animated and graphic supported episodes. According to the channel, live caricatures are sure to bring back the magic of great moral stories on TV.
Punyakshethra: Program series on famous places of spiritual and historical significance and will be aired from Monday - Saturday at 6.30 pm.
Other important programs include Sakhi and Achara Vichara with the afternoon programs focusing on women, arogya yoga and Jatakaphala.