NDTV looking to dislodge STAR Plus from top

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Prannoy Roy’s NDTV Group is all set to launch its entertainment channel by year-end and its goal is to give STAR Plus a run for its money for the top slot.

The group will launch three channels under its new entertainment venture – NDTV Imagine, which will be headed by STAR�۪s ex-CEO Sameer Nair, credited with turning STAR Networks�۪ fortunes with programmes such as ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ and a plethora of hugely popular saas-bahu serials.

NDTV, today said it was in talks with major producers, including Ekta Kapoor, for serials on its to-be-launched channels.

While the first channel will be entertainment centric, the second channel will be an all-movie channel. The third will also be an entertainment channel but will cater to a more specific audience within the GEC (General Entertainment Channel) space, and will be the second GEC in the NDTV Imagine bouquet, just as STAR India has STAR One as a second GEC, and Sony Entertainment Network has SAB TV.

“We will launch the first general entertainment channel in Hindi by the end of this year or early next year. We are in conversation with all major producers, including Ekta Kapoor, for serials on our channel,” said Sameer Nair, CEO, NDTV Imagine.

Nair, who also has an equity stake in the new venture, says, “We do not intend to make tall claims that our general entertainment channel will be different in terms of content, just for the sake of being different. Our channel will cater to viewers in the age group of 6-60, like any other GEC, and it will have a judicious mix of programming for everyone.”

Nair adds that the major difference will be the treatment and packaging of content. He supports his statement by saying: “Hundreds of movies are launched every year. Though many follow similar storylines, the packaging of each film and story varies, which becomes the big differentiator. The same concept also works for the television industry. So, while we will have drama, format shows, kids programming and other kinds of programming, the presentation and treatment could be different.”

“Any form of programming or content has to go through a lot of experimentation, and the fact is that some programmes and formats work, while others don�۪t. We will need two-three driver shows to present a strong challenge to the market leaders and attract viewership.”

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