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NDTV Imagine brings back the one hour drama

By , agencyfaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | December 17, 2007
In order to stand out in the clutter of new GECs, NDTV Imagine is all set to bring back the one hour soap format

NDTV & #BANNER1 & # Imagine, spearheaded by Sameer Nair, is taking Indian television back to one hour soap operas aired weekly. Some three years ago, STAR Plus, then under Nair's leadership, had used this format, and quite successfully, too. Remember Kehta Hai Dil , Sanjeevani , Saara Aakash and Des Mein Nikla Hoga Chaand? All four serials which were aired between 9-10 pm on weekdays did pretty well.

The group has gone back to the one hour format for its new channel and says the decision is based on numbers and research. Manoj Vidwans, executive vice-president, research marketing and communications, NDTV Imagine, says, "From the Des Mein... and other experiences, we realised how the one hour format can work and even outperform soaps with a shorter running time. I remember Des Mein... outperformed the leading half hour soaps (of the time) as far as TVRs were concerned." Vidwans was part of the STAR team before he joined NDTV Imagine along with Nair.

Shailaja Kejriwal
NDTV Imagine will roll out three weekly one hour soaps, Radhaa Ki Betiyaan Kuch Kar Dikhayengi, Ek Packet Umeed and Raajkumar Aaryyan. Radha Ki Betiyaan is the story of a proud mother who instils the right values in her daughters and believes in their potential for excellence in whatever they choose to do. Ek Packet Umeed is a touching drama about a group of women who have come to terms with their unfortunate past and started life afresh with a positive attitude. Raajkumar Aaryyan is set in a period when men could gain supernatural powers, change appearances and use charms and spells.

The channel accepts that its move is a gamble as only good quality programmes will hold the viewers' attention for a whole hour. Shailaja Kejriwal, executive vice-president, content, NDTV Imagine, says, "It's a question of whether one can retain the audience over the long period of time or not and only high quality content can do so. The fact that not many channels have tried long formats in soaps, shows that it's difficult to run such programmes."

NDTV Imagine will roll out in the last week of January and it is hopeful that the one hour programmes will be the ultimate differentiator between it and other newbie general entertainment channels. "There are some programmes which are better told in a longer format and that's the only reason why we are starting off with three one hour weekly soaps. It will make sure that we stand out in the crowded GEC market," say Kejriwal.

The channel has roped in producer and director Karan Johar as its creative consultant and brand ambassador. Under the leadership of Nair, the company has planned strategic forays into key businesses in the media and entertainment space.