afaqs!

Real promises to live up to its name

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | January 22, 2009
Real, the new Hindi general entertainment channel, to be launched in March, will portray real characters. Its positioning is "Real People, Real Stories and Real Entertainment"

Real & #BANNER1 & # Global Broadcasting (RGB) has unveiled Real, its new Hindi general entertainment channel, which is expected to go on air in March 2009. With this, the channel officials hope to create a distinct alternative in the Hindi GEC space.

RGB is a 50-50 joint venture between Alva Brothers Entertainment and Turner International.

Talking to afaqs! about the new channel, Nikhil Alva, chairman, Alva Brothers Entertainment, says, "There will be no aggressive characters on this channel. The characters and elements of the stories will be as real as possible. We will have a fresh storytelling approach with a distinct blend of reality and fiction shows."

Real will be the 13th entrant in the Hindi GEC space. GECs that were launched recently include NDTV Imagine, 9X and Colors. Some of Turner International's channels, such as CNN, Pogo, Cartoon Network and HBO, are already operating in India.

The positioning of the channel will be: "Real People, Real Stories and Real Entertainment". The channel has a circular green logo, which has a vibrant feel and depicts friendliness and approachability.

The channel defines its target group as "neo Indians", who are urban oriented, ambitious and outward looking, and aged between 15 and 34 years.

Explaining the characteristics that will differentiate the new channel, Nikhil says, "We will treat male viewers with respect and we'll make sure that they have something to look forward to, even during the weekends. At Real, we will try to promote fresh talent, be it actors, producers, directors or others."

He adds, "Along with Turner, which brings global best practices in the broadcast business to Real, we are building a platform for distinctive brands and contemporary content. Together, we hope to provide a distinct GEC channel, which will be dramatically differentiated, yet relevant and aspiring to Indian viewers."

Though the channel has not revealed its entire programming lineup, it claims to have a fair blend of fiction and reality shows. Initially, it will have three hours of original programming and will also focus on movies. Some of its shows include Sarkar Ki Duniya, Vicky Ki Taxi, Hindi Hai Hum and Poker Face.

In Sarkaar Ki Duniya, a reality show, 18 Indians will work towards transforming a remote island, under the scrutiny of an autocratic ruler. This is a mega format show, designed in India.

In Vicky Ki Taxi, a fiction show, a taxi driver plays the role of a reluctant messiah, who gets drawn into the problems of his passengers. Hindi Hai Hum is a drama that aims to bring forth the spirit of the Indian youth. Poker Face is an Indian version of the international quiz show of the same name, where one contestant will win prize money of Rs 1 crore.

Sunil Lulla, director, Real Global Broadcasting, says, "Our focus will be to offer fresh choice to the viewers. The clean, vibrant packaging and uncluttered presentation of the channel is a reflection of its international quality. With this channel, we aim to present identifiable and reliable characters."

Steve Marcopoto, president, Turner Broadcasting System, Asia Pacific, says, "Turner International is very excited about Real, with which we are entering the GEC genre. Given the market's strong growth and improving distribution delivery systems, India is one of our biggest growth opportunities."

At a time when most GECs are struggling to sustain themselves, how confident are they about the success of Real? According to Nikhil, "We have been working on the channel for a very long time now. We identified a need gap and we aim to fulfil it with refreshing content and an uncluttered approach. We have taken this decision to launch a GEC after very thorough work."

Real promises to offer an interactive entertainment experience, which is positive, fun and joyful. The channel's website, www.realtelevision.in, will be launched soon. The company plans to promote Real's launch through an aggressive marketing campaign, which will also be unveiled soon.

Niret Alva, co-promoter and director, Alva Brothers Entertainment, says that the differentiating factor for the channel is its refreshing approach.

Anshuman Misra, managing director, Turner International India, says in an official statement, "Turner International has a history of making smart, successful collaborations that enhance the viewing experience of our discerning Indian audiences and is confident that this channel will deliver quality programming to Indian audiences. Turner's proven understanding and experience in television broadcasting in India will add value to the partnership."

This digitally encrypted pay channel will be distributed through the Zee Turner bouquet and will be available across the country on cable systems and digital platforms.

Turner International is also looking forward to launching an English movie channel by the end of 2009. The company already has HBO in its bouquet.

Turner International India is the arm of Turner Broadcasting System that manages the sales and marketing of Turner's news and entertainment services in India and South Asia. Alva Brothers are the promoters of Miditech, a production company that creates programming for various broadcasters in the region.

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