afaqs!

STAR One: Not so young any more

By Sapna Nair , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | February 02, 2009
The channel is launching new programmes to attract older audiences. It now wants to move away from its 'youthful' image

The general entertainment channel with a skew towards younger audiences will soon shed its youthful image. Despite shifting gears from being a youth channel to being a sister GEC for the network's flagship channel, STAR Plus, STAR One still had a 'young' appeal. But no longer.

STAR One will begin this exercise by building and strengthening its primetime band. To begin with, it is launching a new show, Shakuntala, which is a contemporary epic love story. It is originally a poem written by the celebrated Indian poet, Kalidas. STAR One will render a modern touch to it, similar to how Gladiator was re-created to suit modern sensibilities. Shakuntala is being produced by Sagar Arts.

When & #BANNER1 & # asked if STAR One was taking the mythological route to lure a wider audience, Ravi Menon, executive vice-president and general manager, STAR One, says, "Shakuntala cannot be termed as a mythological show. It is a period love story. But we have taken certain creative liberties so that it is not perceived as ancient or having religious overtones, and so that our audience can relate to it easily."

With this show, Menon hopes to extend the channel's appeal to older audiences, up to 35 years of age. "Since this story is a classic and has deep undertones, unlike other fiction shows on the channel, I am sure older audiences will come in and we'll be able to expand our target group," he says. The brief to the creative team at STAR has been "to create shows that will widen the audience base".

When asked why the channel is moving away from its young image, Menon says, "It's a daring experiment. We want to gauge whether attracting a little larger audience will benefit the channel, but we also don't wish to repel the young viewers that we have earned."

In the coming months, STAR One will extend its weekday primetime slot with three more fiction shows, which will be light-hearted and appeal to an older audience.

As of now, STAR One has five shows in the primetime band, which ends at 9.30 pm: Hello Kaun Pehchaan Kaun, Dill Mill Gayye, Miley Jab Hum Tum and Ssshhh Phir Koi Hai. Shakuntala will be a new addition at 9.30 pm from today. The end of March will see another daily fiction show in the 10 pm slot. By July, the channel will extend its primetime till 11 pm, with two more fiction shows.

As per TAM's latest figures on Hindi GECs, for C&S 4+ audiences in Hindi speaking markets, STAR One commands a 5 per cent share of the overall pie, with 64 GRPs.