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'It's very difficult to get TV audience hooked onto one single thing'
If broadcasters are constantly harping on the need to innovate, can content providers be far behind? According to Gajendrra Siingh, chairman & MD, Saibaba Telefilms, the biggest challenge for any content provider is to improvise and provide content based on audience insight. "We need to identify viewer needs and customise content accordingly. India is a country on a growth path and thus audience preferences also keep switching, one has to catch the pace," he points out. Saibaba Telefilms has been creating content for television for 14 years, with shows like musical talent hunt programme Sa Re, Ga Ma Pa and Antakshari. The recent hit show Music Ka Maha Muqqabala is also from its stable. Mohe Rang De is an upcoming singing talent hunt based on devotional songs. Sur Sangram has achieved record breaking TRPs on Mahua (Bhojpuri channel). With regional markets opening up like never before, Sai Telefilms is foraying to the south—it will soon be producing shows in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam, all to be aired on channels part of the Sun Network. Siingh talks to FE on the regional expansion and why he’s thinking pan-India already. Excerpts:

What have been your biggest successes in the Hindi GEC space?

All the shows we have made are special. But yes, of late, Music Ka Maha Muqqabala has been a great experience, a show worth doing.

Your first foray in the south... why did you feel the need to do this?

The south has been a land of great music and musicians. It is a great opportunity to provide a platform for talent from that region. We have tried to understand consumer insights and will create content which connects with the emotion and essence of that soil.

Is the Hindi music reality show saturated?

You can never saturate talent or for that matter the sense of music within people. Whether people are singing just to keep themselves happy or they are being trained to become great singers, there is a musician in all of us. We are working on creating different formats in the same genre, which will provide a different viewing experience to the audience.

Do you see the popularity of music-based shows waning?

The popularity of music-based shows depends on the talent, format and the content. If all these things are present in good proportion music shows will always work.

As a content provider, what are the biggest opportunities?

The biggest opportunity today is the opening up of the broadcasting spectrum and reach to viewers, which has increased manifold. Also, there are opportunities in the regional markets and we are giving them the quality that we give for national channels.

You are testing the southern markets; are there any plans to test other regional markets?

Yes, we would be looking at the other regional markets as well. Our aim is to provide quality entertainment for all and we are working all out to achieve a pan-India presence.

Is the south where the growth of TV industry is mainly going to come from?

The southern market is very big and has got immense potential. South audiences are loyalists and quality conscious. To attract them for viewing a TV show, quality assurance is very important.

What are some of the trends you are noticing in the TV industry?

The basic trends remain the same. You give people a good show and they are hooked. The audience wants to see something fresh and out of the box. The number of channels have increased, the number of shows on TV have increased, so getting mass viewership is getting more and more difficult. We also have more reality shows coming in. Some do well and some don’t. It is very difficult to get the audience hooked onto one single thing. What is peculiar today is the switching nature of the audience and they need to be catered to.

What is your outlook on the TV content platform in the next five years?

That’s a difficult question because the TV content platform is very volatile as of now. But there would definitely be efforts in bringing clutter-breaking formats/genres (some international as well). Fiction genre has already seen a huge swing from urban to rural set-up and this will continue for sometime.

TV will become an alternate career option in terms of participation in reality shows and creating aspirations for people to follow. Niche channels will find an impressive amount of viewership in coming times.

For Saibaba Telefilms, are they any other areas you are interested in besides music?

Yes, we have already forayed into the fiction category. Music will always be our underlying strength, but we are looking at doing some non-musical reality shows as well.

Source: The Financial Express

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