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Saturday, Aug 17, 2019

Marathi television is still a three player market: Ajay Bhalwankar

Ajay Bhalwankar, business head, Sony Marathi on how there is so much scope to work with content on regional television

tv Updated: Aug 29, 2018 15:12 IST
Anjali Shetty
Anjali Shetty
Hindustan Times, Pune
Ajay Bhalwankar, business head, Sony Marathi on the theme of the new channel and more
Ajay Bhalwankar, business head, Sony Marathi on the theme of the new channel and more

Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN), launched its regional Marathi channel Sony Marathi on August 19. The channel will offer an array of original fiction and non-fiction programming that aims at breaking stereotypes while celebrating the rich cultural fabric of Maharashtra. The shows on offer are ‘Julta Julta Jultay Ki’, ‘H.M. Bane T.M. Bane’, ‘Saare Tuzhyach Sathi’, ‘Ti Phulrani’, ‘Duniyadari Filmy Istyle’, ‘Year Down’, ‘Bheti Laagi Jeeva’, ‘Hrudhayat Vaje Something’, ‘Garja Maharashtra’. Ajay Bhalwankar, Business Head, Sony Marathi, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) speaks to HT about the theme and more.

Tell us more about the theme and tagline of the channel.
Vinuya Atut Naati is all about weaving together relationships and coming together as one big family. We did a research for 1.5 years, where we tried and understood the current state of Maharashtra. We wanted to understand the pulse of citizens and what is happening in society. We focused on finding out the underlying themes prevalent in society, today. We figured that there is a lot of division and stereotypes in the minds of people. This has led to the creation of compartments. Also, we realised that entertainment channels have a tremendous impact on society. It reaches out to people day in and day out. On a very subconscious level, the shows have to be positive, proactive and relevant to today’s time. That is why our theme revolves around relationships. This is the crux of today’s society.

NP Singh and  Ajay Bhalwankar at the launch of Sony Marathi
NP Singh and Ajay Bhalwankar at the launch of Sony Marathi

What will be the main focus of the content on your channel?
Today, television is consumed together, more importantly Marathi shows are watched by the entire family. We want to be able to bring people together. We have started off with this promise. We will focus on content that is progressive, contemporary and innovative. We want the regional market to connect with us, hence consideration of nuances of cultures, communities and regions are being emphasised on. Maharashtra has a rich and varied culture and tradition and our shows will reflect the same. We have incorporated music, culture, sports, athletics and relationships in all our shows.

How are you gearing up to deal with competition in the market?
Marathi television is still a three player market. If you look at other regions, for example Bengal has around 10 of their local channels. That is when you realise that there is so much scope. With the content point of view, there is an entire spectrum which hasn’t been touched at all. Hence, for us, competition is not much. Right now, we have noticed just a one channel dominant phenomenon. We want to contribute to creating and breaking stereotypes.

First Published: Aug 29, 2018 15:12 IST

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