Television

EPIC TV's Akul Tripathi on content changes post NTO & roadmap for 2020

The channel will bring some unique content in the space.

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MUMBAI: As the new tariff order (NTO) came into effect in 2019, niche channels feared its impact the most. Belonging to one of the niche genres - infotainment, EPIC channel with its focus on India-centric content went against the tide. In the tough year the channel experimented with various genres and launched shows like EPIC IQ Challenge, Regiment Diaries and the new season of Lost Recipe. Going forward in 2020 the channel will bring another season of these marquee shows along with some new and unique formats that have never been seen in the infotainment space. 

In an interaction with Indiantelevision.com, EPIC channel content and programming head Akul Tripathi spoke on the channel's journey so far, challenges faced by the infotainment, advertisers' keenness on upcoming shows, content strategies and roadmap for 2020.

In November the channel completed its fifth year. One of the remarkable experiments was trying the reality format in the infotainment space- EPIC IQ Quiz Challenge which was launched in October. 

"EPIC IQ Challenge premiered this year in October and demonstrated that the reality show format can work on infotainment channels as well. Regiment Diaries continues to receive very emotional and heartfelt responses. Season 2 is eagerly awaited and we too are excited to see it on air soon," Tripathi comments.

He says, “The last five years have been very memorable for EPIC. We have received so much love and loyalty from our viewers, and accolades from the industry that are truly humbling.”

“This has also been a learning experience. We are learning something different about the viewers and their preferences every day. However, the one lesson that stands out is that good content works. If you’re putting out quality shows which offer relevance and entertainment, you will find people coming back for them. Part of our success is owed to the fact that our shows have lasting appeal - they are as popular today as they were when they premiered. It is also vital to keep offering viewers something new, which has led us to experimenting with various genres, such as reality infotainment, which was very well-received,” Tripathi expresses.

With all the changes in the industry it has been an exciting year for EPIC as well. “The enforcement of the new regulations has shown us that the love and loyalty for EPIC is everything that any brand or business can hope for. The response we have received from both distributors and cable operators has been heartening, to say the least."

Even advertisers are taking to its shows. Regiment Diaries has been a favourite since it launched, but Lost Recipes Season 2 made its own mark this year. The response was exceptional. "We had a host of brands excited about coming on board with EPIC IQ Panga, a digital property we launched along with EPIC IQ Challenge, that gave advertisers a chance to interact directly with the audience. At the same time, we have advertisers equally willing to associate with our legacy content."

Challenges

EPIC is unique in the infotainment genre with its focus on India-centric content and its commitment towards telling stories from India. The channel has a library of premium, Hindi-language Indian content that has been built with great passion and put together along with the right mix of talent, technology and story, backed by credible research which remains the key to creating great content. “With content from the world at your fingertips, the audience is far more demanding than previously on production and entertainment values.

Content Strategies

For content, the channel gives special attention to timelessness. The expertise of the channel lies in creating content that stays relevant and with the latest technology so that it remains fresh and current over time. Tripathi says, “We emphasise on storytelling to have several layers to it, that makes for great repeat watching value and give viewers a new takeaway every time they see it. We believe this, along with being made in the native language of the viewers makes for content that resonates across age groups and also remains viable for the channel.” 

He also informed that the channel will curate content across genres to showcasing the country’s past and present with a unique touch of entertainment and fun. "This year, we experimented with a quiz show and found that audiences are truly open to eclectic content. Going forward, we are planning to come out with more shows about nature and wildlife, which have their own dedicated viewers, and so their own ROI."

Plans for 2020

Viewers can look forward to a new season of Regiment Diaries coming out very soon. The channel is also looking at bringing the second season of EPIC IQ Challenge in 2020, with new editions of EPIC IQ Panga. “Also, keep an eye out for some very unique wildlife content. We are also developing some concepts that have never been attempted before in the infotainment space. Interesting times ahead, and watch this space for announcements,” says Tripathi.

He further says, “We aim to further diversify our offerings, make meaningful collaborations, like the recent one with Amar Chitra Katha, and also allow for more touch-points for our content, especially through interactivity in-sync with our OTT Platform - EPIC On.”

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