2018 at a Glance: How Sony led the way with novelty, quality and variety
Emerging as Urban India’s favourite Hindi General Entertainment Channel, Sony Entertainment Television (SET) grew from strength to strength in 2018 on the back of it high quality, differentiated, relatable and inspiring content. Novelty, quality and variety are the three pillars of SET’s programming.
2018 has been a landmark year for the channel with the variety of new genres of content that SET has presented to its viewers. The channel broke a certain monotony and fatigue that was setting into the Hindi GEC space and engaged with the viewer with refreshing new content. SET raised the bar, unleashing the power of TV and digital with the second screen initiatives, and created several enhanced and immersive experiences to reach out to audiences across both screen screens.
The Big Bang Beginning to 2018
Sony Entertainment Television launched its sub-brand ‘SET Originals’ with ‘Prithvi Vallabh’ being the first production to premier under this brand. With SET Originals, the channel announced its intent to collaborate with fresh creative storytellers with superior production values and narratives catering to a global audience. ‘Prithvi Vallabh’ received critical acclaim and recognition from across the world as the pièce de résistance of SETs considerable repertoire.
‘Super Dancer Chapter 2’, which began with a bang continued its winning streak throughout the season winning hearts and topping charts week on week. The enthusiasm of the contestants on the show was matched by the love that poured in from the audience throughout the season. During ‘Super Dancer Chapter 2’s Super Finale, SET empowered the viewers and made them the judges of the show. Enabling LIVE voting, 34 million votes were received in a short span of 150 minutes via Sony LIV.
Return of Dus Ka Dum
‘Dus Ka Dum’ (DKD), made a much-celebrated return on television which marked Salman Khan’s homecoming on SET. The channel announced a ‘Convergence Initiative’ to unlock the future of entertainment and took audience engagement to an all new high. In first ten days itself, the initiative was a huge success and achieved an unprecedented reach of over 1 million and counting participants from over 2,000 cities participated in the survey of ‘Dus Ka Dum’, making it the largest survey database across the globe. The second screen initiatives with the survey, auditions in the pre-launch phase and Play Along once the show came on air proved to be very successful in terms of engaging and entertaining viewers. It is the first time in the history of world television that viewers’ insights were recorded and formed the backbone for the content in the form of probable questions in the show.
Introducing innovative formats
Prime-time television in India saw a first-of-its-kind format in SET’s innovative concept titled ‘Zindagi Ke Crossroads’, with relatable life-altering narratives inspired from the drama of life. Popular actor Ram Kapoor was the host of the show. With scripted and unscripted components as a part of the format, the show was realistic, thought-provoking and interactive. The show tapped on many subjects that are taboo and seldom discussed in Indian society. Before a ‘Crossroad’ decision is taken, it was open for discussion with the studio audience who represented audiences in India to gauge what we would have done in similar situations. This show broke the trend of such opinion-based shows only existing on news channels. For audiences, it was a mirror of introspection, and for some, an enabler of life in the days to come. Bringing many unique stories every week, here too, the second screen engagement created value by allowing thought provoking discussions and making way for out-of-the-box TV.
The power of 10 (seasons)
There were two shows that celebrated their 10th season on SET – ‘Indian Idol’ and ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ (KBC). Music reality show ‘Indian Idol’ garnered 4.3 million impressions and has entered the top 10 shows in its very first week and has won the hearts of audiences yet again. The unique combination of judges, especially having Neha Kakkar, who is the only ex-Idol contestant in the world to be selected in the judge’s panel. The superlative singing talent has got the nation hooked with their captivating performances every weekend. The young singers have become household names and the music industry’s favourites.
Hosted by the charismatic Amitabh Bachchan, the 10th edition of ‘KBC’ catapulted SET to becoming the number one Hindi GEC channel. And, with each week, the show proved to be even more successful and wowed the audiences with its amazing #KabTakRokoge and celebrated the spirit of resilience in ordinary man. The contestants, some of them, who had tried being a part of the game for years, Play(ed) Along on SonyLIV to win big and realise their dreams. Inspiring stories of some exceptional work done for the good of humanity in every Friday Karamveer episode became the talk of town.
More than just for laughs
The return of ‘Comedy Circus’ with a new season enthralled audiences and made weekends more entertaining. Returning after nearly three years, Archana Puran Singh and Sohail Khan were the judges. Despite being a tough genre to crack, ‘Comedy Circus’ was a riot of laughter and its format has given the industry several new talent and superstars such as Kapil Sharma and Bharati Singh amongst many others.
History at its best
While ‘Porus’ depicted the untold story of the greatest conqueror of the world, Alexander, and the most spirited defender of India, Porus, for the first time on Indian television, this historical show will see a gradual progression in its narrative marking the advent of a new chapter. The demise of Porus gave rise to Chandragupt Maurya – chronologically and historically, the ruler who brought the whole of India together. Produced by Siddharth Kumar Tewary, SET is showcasing the making of the bravest and most celebrated King – Chandragupt Maurya, who has made his mark in the history of India.
SET’s biopic on Sai Baba, titled ‘Mere Sai’, celebrated the completion of 100 years of Sai Babataking his Samadhi in Shirdi. Witnessing the massive response, SET announced a contest, ‘Chalo Shirdi’, that allowed devout fans of the show and Sai-bhakts to avail an opportunity to visit Shirdi, Sai Baba’s holy abode for darshan to witness the centenary celebrations of Sai Baba’s Samadhi. It is one of the most popular shows on Indian television due to its authentic portrayal of Sai’s life journey in an engaging screenplay format has managed to gain a loyal and increasing audience base. A year and still going strong, ‘Mere Sai’ is a must-watch for its simplicity.
What’s life without some drama?
It wasn’t just reality shows on SET that kept audiences entertained in 2018. The launch of ‘Dil Hi Toh Hain’, ‘Main Maike Chali Jaungi Tum Dekhte Rahiyo’, ‘Patiala Babes’ and ‘Ladies Special’ showcased a variety of contemporary dramas with strong storylines. They strengthened SET’s weekday prime-time.
Exploring one such mother-daughter relationship and the interference of this mother in her daughter’s marriage, SET launched a slice of life dramedy – ‘Main Maayke Chali Jaungi Tum Dekhte Rahiyo’. This mother strongly believes in beti ko bas vida kiya hai, alvida nahin, maintaining a strong presence in her daughter’s life post marriage much to the dismay of her son-in-law! Taking cues from the refreshing concept of the show, the channel creatively used its show logo - a bedecked suitcase as a metaphor to highlight the thought of the show. This was used across mediums innovatively to engage with the consumers.
Following the success of the show, SET launched two more exciting fiction shows with extremely relatable characters – ‘Ladies Special’, which explores the bond of friendship between three women who meet in Mumbai’s local train and ‘Patiala Babes’, a whole new look at the relationship between a mother and a daughter, where the daughter strives to give wings to her mother’s aspirations.
Milte hain break ke baad!
2018 also saw one of the longest running shows on Sony Entertainment Television – ‘CID’ – go off-air. The show that had become a cult will be back with a refreshed look and contextual cases that will keep alive the thrill. ‘CID’ aired more than 1,500 episodes till it went off-air and ACP Pradyuman and Daya became household names. The audiences are waiting eagerly for their favourite show to be back and hearing Pradyuman’s trademark dialogues like “Kuch to gadbad hai” and “Daya darawaza tod do”.
On the anvil
As the year closes, two big ticket shows are on the anvil. The much awaited ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’ and ‘Super Dancer – Chapter 3’, the dance reality show with Anurag Basu, Shilpa Shetty and Geeta Kapoor as the judges are already the most talked about properties to watch out in 2019.