Prachi Srivastava

"We want to be the foremost GEC, not second rung": Ajit Thakur, Life OK

The channel is getting aggressive this festive season with plans to revamp and launch seven new shows in 10 weeks.

Life OK, technically referred to as a "second-rung" Hindi general entertainment channel, has plans to shed this image. The two-and-a-half-year old channel from Star India - that has beaten older channels like Sony Entertainment Television, Sab TV and even Colors in the odd week or two - is aiming to make the channel a primary destination for the family.

The idea is to take the channel to the next level. And in order to do that, the channel has decided to undergo a revamp. Sometime in November, Life OK will don a new logo, a new packaging and to complement the change, it is launching seven new properties between tomorrow and mid-December.

"We want to be the foremost GEC, not second rung": Ajit Thakur, Life OK
Ajit Thakur, EVP and general manager, Life OK and Channel V, takes pride in the fact that Life OK, since its inception has been breaking clichés and launching shows which do not fall under the "typical" daily soaps category.

The channel has the mythological 'Mahadev' that attracts males, a show like 'Tumhari Pakhi' that brings women onto the channel, and also a show called 'Supercops vs Supervillains' that complete the portfolio by getting in kids, a TG that is not a very active viewer of a Hindi GEC.

"Life OK may not be a staple diet for a Hindi GEC viewer but if he/she is looking for variety, the person will come to the channel," adds Thakur, sharing that the channel, which replaced Star One, has around 14 per cent of the market share today. He states that the channel has done well in terms of numbers - its viewers have appreciated the fact that the content does not drag. Moreover, it has managed to keep a hold on advertisers and cable operators.

"The market share could be anything and I have never cared about ranks but what we now want to tell viewers is - Life OK is your primary destination, everything else is alternate," he asserts.

The 'big' plan

Life OK intends to make this festive season the most memorable period since its launch in December 2011. To start with, the channel is launching two new shows on October 7.

The first one, in the 9.30 pm slot is a first from Balaji Telefilms on the channel (though Ekta Kapoor had done a promotional series 'Ek Thi Naayka' on the channel). Marking Sonali Bendre's fiction debut on TV, 'Ajeeb Daastan Hai Yeh' brings to the viewers story of a woman who is seeking financial independence after her marriage fails.

The second is a daily sitcom (situational comedy) that is slotted at 10 pm. Titled 'Comedy Classes', the show will feature popular faces of television comedy like Krushna, Bharti, Sudesh and Shakeel.

"We want to be the foremost GEC, not second rung": Ajit Thakur, Life OK
"We want to be the foremost GEC, not second rung": Ajit Thakur, Life OK
"We want to be the foremost GEC, not second rung": Ajit Thakur, Life OK
Life OK will, for the first time, be airing the 'World Television Premiere' of a Bollywood movie - the Alia Bhatt and Arjun Kapoor-starrer '2 States' - on October 18.

Just as in 2012, when the channel had done a special series, 'Ramleela - Ajay Devgn Ke Saath', it has planned a big event during the Diwali week this year, on a much larger scale.

The next big show is Vipul Amrutlal's action thriller with Ranvijay, Adah Sharma and Raj Babbar. It is expected to replace the Akshay Kumar-hosted dance reality on the show, 'Dare 2 Dance' and will launch in the first week of November. The show will be wrapped up in 24 episodes.

It will be followed by Sooraj Barjatya's first fiction on the channel. Though the title of the show has not been announced yet, it will be a love story. Buoyed by the success of Mahadev, the channel also wants to do another mythology-based show.

"We are putting our full marketing muscle behind this effort. We have got big faces - both on camera and behind it. These 10 weeks will take the channel to the next level. It will no more be an alternate/ second GEC. We want to be the foremost GEC. What we need first is the "wow" factor, numbers and ranking will follow, " Thakur adds.

As a part of the promotional plan, Life OK is occupying spots in around 50 channels including live sports. There will be heavy out-of-home activity. The channel will be promoting the change in malls and in cinema halls during the screening of Bang Bang. There will be full-page ads in print dailies that will communicate the big change from the channel.

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