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AgTalk | Offering relevant content scales channel growth: Sanjeev Kapoor

Speak about cooking, cookery show or innovative recipes - the name that strikes almost every Indian’s mind is that of celebrity Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor. The most celebrated face of Indian cuisine business today, TV show host, author of bestselling cookbooks, restaurant consultant, architect of unique range of food products and winner of numerous awards, Kapoor has always been synonymous to food and television. He can be credited as the man who brought the art of cooking to India and Indian television space and has always updated and creatively innovated his art of cooking as per the growing needs and demands of his consumers. A household name in India now, he has been associated with one of the known television shows; Khana Khazana and has been making consistent efforts in making Indian cuisine a worldwide taste.

He has consulted as a guest star on Western cooking shows and keynoted international food festivals. He has penned countless best-selling cookbooks and even created his own line of Indian condiments. In a distinguished effort, Food Food, a joint venture between Astro Overseas Limited (Astro) and Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor and Sandeep Goyal and owned Mogae Consultants the channel has not only brought to the viewers the concept of 24x7 food and lifestyle – based channel; but also carved a niche in the said space with notable programming innovations.

Adgully caught up with Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, Founder and CEO FoodFood to talk about the roadmap laid for the channel, his strategies, plans and more.

Adgully (AG): Share with us the content strategy of the channel and what efforts go into conceptualizing differentiated content on your channel?
Sanjeev Kapoor (SK): In terms of differentiated content, I don’t have to worry much as the channel itself is a differentiated channel and the category too is quite different. Actually it is very simple and let me state an example and explain you…..if you are an orthopaedic surgeon it is quite obvious that you will only be treating bone issues. So is the case for us as well where we focus specifically on the category of food and lifestyle. Also I believe that when it comes to defining consumer demands and needs in terms of food, we are very focused and have been catering to it quite literally. Also we have a loyal set of viewers so it is important is to keep them engaged hence we look at shows as to solve a need for our consumers and not just a television show. By solving a need I mean consumer and viewer needs ranging from learning about new world recipes to weight loss and innovation to desi food and lot more. In terms of research and efforts that goes behind conceptualizing a show, we keep doing on-ground activities wherein we meet our consumers and they tell us what they need and where we lag behind. Also thanks to social media our learning and understandings grow day-by-day!

AG: As you mentioned above that you have a loyal set of audience so how do you plan your content and shows as Food as a genre caters to all kind of people?
SK: Well, we do keep in mind the sync between the timings and our shows. So the afternoon slot shows/content is focused towards ‘How To Cook’; late afternoon when generally the kids come back from school so that is the time when we focus on content which is inclined towards kids as they also consume us in some manner; hence we launched ‘K for Kids’. In the evening we look at shows which revolve around travel and lifestyle like Pure Sin, Style chef etc.

AG: How do you look at markets other than India as far as your channel’s presence and positioning is concerned?
SK: Very true. We do keep a check on our consumption and demand oversees. FoodFood has quickly gained popularity in India, and with the growing demand for Indian food all over the world, we are proud to bring our channel nationwide. We are currently present in Canada, Middle East, recently launched in US and looking at Africa, Singapore and Malaysian Markets. Currently there is similar content in every market but with time and growing needs we will be catering to specific demands of each market. Also in Canada already 15 percent of local content (shows produced from Canadian market) is being aired.  

AG: Though your primary platform is TV, you also have a strong digital push. Tell us a bit about that?
SK: Yes, we as a content company believe that today multi-screen presence is really important. So we not only position our self there on the big screen but on second screens as well. Whether it’s on internet or mobile or tablet, we have made our presence felt. Also this step has made our presence felt across various countries. We have FoodFood Youtube channel which makes us reach anywhere in the world. We are also looking at dedicated ways; so we have a different app for IOS which has garnered very good numbers and response.  

AG: As you mentioned that you have a reach all across the world so what kind of viewer profile do you have? Is it much snaky is nature? Do you have appointment viewing on the channel?
SK: Yes, we do have for our anchor shows. See the point is the kind of audience profile we have is very loyal and focused ones. They come to us with a different but focused mind-set. Thus I believe we have a good mix of audiences.

AG: How do you deal with competition as there are channels which offer food + lifestyle content?
SK: I personally believe that in ‘Food’ as category relevance plays a vital role. There are a lot of channels who lay behind that aspect. If you don’t connect with the market that you are catering to, the channel will not have a long lasting impact, though it might get eyeballs. So we believe in driving growth and not dealing with competition. In our category nobody competes but your peers become your partners in growth.

AG: Share with us the line of products and extension that you have?
SK: We are looking at extending our shows as our products so we have books, DVDs, VODs and also under FoodFood branded products we will be launching two things- Nutri Blend and secondly set of Stone-line Pans.

AG: Is there an opportunity in the ‘Health’ category?
SK: Yes, of course it is one of the fastest growing categories today. So among the above mentioned product line-up both products are designed and made keeping ‘Health’ in mind.

AG: How has been the Sponsor’s / Advertiser’s response till date?
SK: The response has been good. 

AG: Has digitization helped you?
SK: I believe digitization has not worked in favour of smaller broadcasters. The challenge has increased as earlier broadcasters were fighting with MSOs and cable operators today the DTH players have also joined the bandwagon.

AG: Shed some light on the ad-inventory bit. How is the scenario like and are you looking at increasing ad-rates?
SK:  Our growth since our launch has been very good and I can say that our partners in that Helios have done a very good job with that. We are still not at 100 percent of what we should be. We can be but we don’t want to reduce our rates as what we offer, nobody else can offer, and thus, our properties are premium ones!

AG: How have you seen yourself evolving over the years?
SK: Of course today the approach is really different as the viewers mind set and tastes have evolved rapidly. I believe my approach is still the same but what has changed is the method of cooking which simultaneously changes the consumer’s approach towards his/her dish. The understanding and range of ingredients have also changed which has led to change in aspirations. [By Aanchal Kohli | Twitter: @aanchalkohli] 

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