afaqs!

Sahara One revamps itself with eye on youth

By Sapna Nair , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | October 01, 2008
Sahara One is starting afresh with a new identity and new programmes to attract younger audiences

Sahara & #BANNER1 & # One is getting a makeover of sorts. Nilanjana Purkayastha, business head, Sahara One Television, reveals the new strategy, which is aimed at getting the channel back in the reckoning. "We want to be in the first rung among GECs soon," the confident business head tells afaqs!

The general entertainment channel (GEC) has reason to be happy. Its channel share has increased over the last few weeks and it has managed to topple 9X. As per the TAM data for Week 37, Sahara One commands 6 per cent share, on par with NDTV Imagine. In the last week (Week 38), it garnered 5 per cent share.

Mata Ki Chowki, a fiction show, launched in June, delivers a weekly average TVR of 1.5. The other top rated shows on the channel are Doli Saja Ke - Babul Ki Bitiya and Woh Rehne Wali Mehlon Ki.

Currently, Sahara One is focusing on strengthening its prime time. At 8pm, it has introduced a reality show, Saas v/s Bahu, which is proving to be quite popular. "There is a certain loyalty to the channel, despite the fact that its reputation has been eroded over the years," says Purkayastha.

The channel conducted a perception study and found that it wasn't a preferred channel among the youth. "They thought of us as a boring channel, appealing to older women," says Purkayastha. She adds that the perception was because of the nature of the shows and movies aired on Sahara One.

Nilanjana Purkayastha
The channel's mission now is to shatter that image. "Come November and we will do away with movies completely," she says. The new programming will be designed keeping the youth and their tastes in mind. "The next few months will see us fighting this battle. While we want to add young viewers, we want to retain our core target group as well," she explains.

In October, Sahara One is launching several new fiction shows. One of these is a supernatural love story, Kaisi Laagi Lagan.

In November, the channel will launch two more youth-centric fiction shows. "These are shows that talk about young people, but can be watched by the entire family," she says. The two shows are Pankh Hote Toh Ud Jaati, the story of the journey of a 22 year old, and Jo Ishq Ki Marzi Woh Rab Ki Marzi, a period love story.

Purkayastha is adopting the strategy of one reality show per year and wants the channel to be fiction led. Biggest Loser Jeetega, the reality show that aired on Sahara One last year, will not have a second season this year.

"Biggest Loser was a great format, but the slotting was an issue. We will launch the second season next year, but on a much larger scale, with a few twists in the format," says Purkayastha. The channel is also fixing the distribution, which it has not looked at seriously thus far.

With both content and distribution being attended to strategically, Purkayastha is optimistic that Sahara One will meet with success. "Our goal is to be among the top three channels in a few months. We are steadily moving towards that," she says. She says it's more important to be on a constant growth graph than to be at the top and then slip back.