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Infotainment genre’s steady shift towards localisation

Infotainment genre’s steady shift towards localisation

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MUMBAI: It’s home! That’s the cry that almost every broadcaster is uttering today when it comes to wooing viewers with content. Even as kids’, lifestyle and GECs are witnessing an uptake in local content, the infotainment genre isn’t going to be left behind.

Earlier, there were only syndicated shows dubbed in Hindi that aired on TV and yet it worked well with the audiences in India. Later, broadcasters felt the need to evolve as per the taste buds of the Indian viewers and that’s when regional feeds came into the picture. Syndicated content was definitely cheaper than self-production.

Discovery, History TV18, National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild, Epic TV and Sony BBC Earth are the players in the market competing against each other for eyeballs. Broadcasters found Tamil and Telugu as viable regional languages to start with. Discovery and National Geographic channels are the only exceptions having Bengali language in their kitty. Epic TV is the only one with Hindi language.  It is also the only channel that has all India-centric while the rest of the players have a mix of syndicated content and home-grown shows.

According to the BARC data week 37, Epic TV bagged fourth position with 1962 impressions sum. Back in 2014, Epic TV called itself a GEC channel and three years later, the channel felt the need to switch to the infotainment genre. Its move proved to be a success as the channel’s market share scaled up from 3 to 15 per cent market share.

Talking about Sony BBC Earth, it leapfrogged Discovery that was ruling the infotainment genre for almost for a decade, within a year of its launch.  The channel increased its market share from 22 per cent to 26 per cent in the six metro cities. In an earlier interview, Sony Pictures Network English cluster business head Tushar Shah told Indiantelevision.com that the category which is supposed to be informative along with entertainment in it is missing the first half. Brushing aside the claims of the challenges in the infotainment genre, Discovery claimed to enjoy a 23 per cent market share in the All India Urban (2+) area. It also claimed that when its Tamil channel is factored into the number games, the channel's share of the pie grew by four per cent.

Similarly, History TV18 also has plans to woo audiences with more local content. History TV18 EVP Arun Thappar said in an interaction that that channel is not just looking at notching up the number of hours of local content but is creating content that is relatable to its audience. Also, in a media report, A+E Networks TV18 VP and marketing head Sangeetha Aiyer said, “I think that localisation is the next logical progression in the evolution of any global product. This is more so in a country like India, which is very inward-looking and has potential for great content. The infotainment genre occupies only about one per cent of total TV consumption. So, if a channel has to expand, it has to look beyond global content. All our local productions have universal themes but with a local lens.”

Considering all the above factors, it clearly means that the infotainment genre isn’t saturated now as it used to be earlier. The genre is growing breaking the cliché from just syndicated content to Indian home-grown content.

As per the BARC data from week 41, Sony BBC Earth continued to lead the genre with 4131 impressions (000s) sum, followed by Discovery Channel, History TV18 and National Geographic Channel retaining its second, third and fourth positions respectively as compared to the previous week (40) with 3995 impressions (000s) sum, 3723 impressions (000s) sum and 2699 impressions (000s) sum. Animal Planet emerged as the new player in the market by replacing Nat Geo Wild, on the fifth position with 2523 impressions (000s) sum.

How the genre manages to grow the appetite of the people for local content remains to be seen. 

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