MUMBAI: Essel Group's international food and lifestyle channel, Living Foodz, had hit Indian television waves in September 2015. The channel is already riding on a wave of success within 7 months of its launch. Apart from curating 100 hours of original content for the Indian market, Living Foodz will roll-out its website in May, while the application will launch by June this year. The channel plans to create a marketing buzz within 30 to 60 days. Living Foodz is also looking at converting into HD by the end of this financial year and has already applied for a few licenses and is waiting for approvals.
“Converting Living Foodz into HD is definitely on the agenda. We have already applied for a few licenses. In any case, 100 per cent of our programming is in HD but as far as the audiences are concerned, the HD penetration is still limited. Business viability and economics dictate that you have a good enough audience reach to justify advertising revenue. It will have to be an optimum and improvement call at an appropriate time for us to decide whether we should create an additional HD channel or go solo HD”, revealed Zee Entertainment’s Living Group APAC and India CEO Piyush Sharma.
The channel believes that producing original content plays a pivotal role in ensuring enhanced reach. With many channels lying on content library and syndication, Living Foodz stresses on making quality content to enhance brand equity and hold audiences.
As reported earlier by Indiantelevision.com, under the Living Entertainment umbrella, the group will unveil its other new channel Living Zen, which it plans to launch in the third quarter. Focused on health, wellness and happiness, it is likely to be followed by the launch of Living Rootz, Living Homez and Living Travelz every quarter thereafter.
Living Foodz claims to have a 40 per cent market share in the lifestyle genre and will continue to focus on food as its strong component for content. To strengthen its footprint in the lifestyle space, the channel has announced a new show Sunday show Ganga:The Soul of India. Bollywood actress Dia Mirza will make her debut on TV with this new offering. The show will launch on 1 May 2016 and will air at 12 noon with a repeat telecast at 7 pm on the same day. The one hour per episode 10 episode show will see Mirza narrating the multi-faced story of the Ganges as she travels through many towns along the majestic river.
Promising to give viewers a peek into the legacy shaped by India’s longest river, the show has bagged Airtel 4G as title sponsor and Gowardhan Ghee as co-powered by sponsor, while American Tourister is the travel partner. The travel food documentary will explore every part of what the river has to offer, including the people, history, mythology, anthropology, adventure, music and the cuisine.
“Quality of content is very important to attract viewers as well as advertisers on any show. The reason why we have these sponsors on board is because of our ambitious content. Travelling is an enriching experience that often remains etched in our memories forever. Ganga: The Soul of India will give our viewers a never-before opportunity to experience the culture, history and cuisine offered along the banks of the sacred Ganges through the eyes of Dia Mirza, who is an ardent traveller. We could not think of a better concept and host to marry the ideas of travel and culture in the Indian context,” said Living Foodz business head Amit Nair.
“It is impossible for me to encapsulate in a sentence the boundless joy, the learning, the discovery, the adventure Ganga: The Soul of India has brought to my life. For those seeking to define the idea of India, this is the journey to be a part of!” said Mirza.
The show allowed her to combine her passion and love with professional experience, added Mirza. She also said that while the show was a deeply spiritual and inward journey, it was also physically challenging. This was especially true in higher terrains.
“Before this, I had said no to reality shows and the typical formats that actors get offered. I want people to make their own roadmap. Slow travel gives you a personal, warm and an enriching experience. TV gives you the opportunity to present yourself as who you are. The show encompasses all that I wanted to explore and do,” she said further.
It has also launched a coffee table book amalgamating the entire journey of Mirza and the team from Gomukh in the Himalayas to the Gangasagar delta where it meets the Bay of Bengal.
“The numbers speak for us. One of the key reasons why people watch us rather than any other channel is because we create original relevant content set in context for our viewers. All our shows have a deeper connection with the audience which leads to more viewer engagement and time spent. As far as creating original content in the factual space goes, I think we are the leaders making the largest amount of factual entertainment content,” added Nair.
As far as the marketing goes, Ganga: The Soul of India will be cross promoted on the other channels under Zee Network. The show will be primarily displayed on TV and digital platforms while the channel has also planned more specific market activities like the book launch.
With a strategically shaped business road map, it will be interesting to see how this new feature in the growing factual entertainment genre can retain its dominance.