The war has begun and packaging is the key in a battle television has not seen before. The flood of new entertainment channels is forcing established ones to rethink thier strategies.
New entrants INX Media has launched 9X and 9X Music. UTV's Bindass is already on air. NDTV Imagine took off yesterday, BAG Films and Media's channel should follow soon.
This will not only step up the fight for the possession of the remote in every household, but also intensify the TRP struggle.
Bindass is promoting itself as India's first youth-centric channel. It is targeting the 15-24-year age group with shows such as Hass Ley India and the sci-fi thriller Shakira. <b1>
9X has roped in yesteryear matinee idol Vinod Khanna opposite Smriti Irani for Mere Apne. The channel has also tied up with the UN for the reality show Mission Ustaad.
NDTV Imagine has as its creative brain Karan Johar, who along with Simi Garewal, is hosting Say Shaava Shaava.
It has also joined hands with Sagar Arts to launch an all-new version of Ramayan. "NDTV Imagine heralds the return of the GEC (General Entertainment Channel) and family entertainment, says Sameer Nair, CEO, NDTV Imagine.
The established channels like Sony Zee, Star Plus and Sahara One are now relying heavily on reality shows. Sony has K for Kishore and Champion Chaalbaaz No 1.
Star Plus recently launched Kaho Na Yaar Hai involving celebrities and their best friends. Sahara One is coming up with a dance show along with some sports-based programmes and documentaries.
Its sister channel, Filmy is airing Bollywood Ka Boss, a quiz show.
The big players are not really bothered about revenue as they already have a market share. "Established channels are quite well placed," agrees Sanjay Upadhyay of Sony. But the new entrants have implemented individual strategies to maximise revenue.
For instance UTV is concentrating on attracting more advertisements of products that appeal to the youth.
"We are confident that we will be able to make a mark. There is competition but the programmes are very different and at times, the target audience varies too," says Ramon Chibb, head of content and operations programming, UTV Bindass.
No matter who wins, the viewers stand to gain.