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Good shows are time agnostic: Aparna Bhosle

Zee TV is strengthening its early primetime offering with a new family drama, ‘Rajaa Betaa’. Produced by SOBO Films, the show will go on-air starting January 15, 2019 and air every Monday to Saturday at 6.30 pm. Swiggy has come on board as the sponsor. 

Contrary to most shows on-air currently across channels, ‘Rajaa Betaa’ shifts the focus to the male protagonist and brushes aside the stereotype of a woman holding the family together. 

Adgully caught up with Aparna Bhosle, Business Head, Zee TV, at the show’s launch event in Mumbai yesterday (January 8, 2019) to know more about ‘Rajaa Betaa’s concept, strategy for the early primetime slot, the reason behind going for a 6-day fiction week, and more. 

GECs are filled with strong women protagonists. Don’t you think you’re taking a risk by making a male character as the main protagonist?
I don’t think it’s that much of a risk, because about 3 years ago we had a very successful show called ‘Jamai Raja’ and it, too, had the same concept of a male protagonist who kept his wife and mother-in-law together. So, I truly believe the audience is quite receptive to having a male protagonist. Coming to the show, ‘Rajaa Betaa’, it is beyond whether Vedant is a boy or a girl, because Vedant as a person is such a beautiful character and that is very important. 

How do you plan to promote the new show?
The promotion will be mostly done online. However, we are also doing a lot of print publicity in the smaller towns in the Hindi heartland as ‘Rajaa Betaa’ is based in Prayagraj. 

We saw the show’s main actors performing a special song at the launch event. How has the marketing team worked on this?
They worked with the lyricist, explained the theme of the show; it’s almost like an ode that we wanted to do. Since this cast is so musically inclined, it was deemed as a good way to start the press conference. 

It’s been six months since you took charge as Business Head of Zee TV. How has the journey been?
The journey has been fantastic. I was a little apprehensive when I started, but in these 6 months I have learnt a lot. I have started watching more TV and last but not the least, I have a fantastic team. 

What is the strategy behind Zee’s decision to have a 6-day week for fiction content?
Basic idea behind it was to increase ratings. Currently, the weekends do not have fiction shows, we haven’t managed to launch that yet. As of now we have ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa’ and ‘Fear Files’. When we looked at the competition, we realised that Zee is the primetime leader, but we lacked in terms of ratings on weekends because we don’t have much on weekends. So, we wanted to see if we could bridge that gap. As most people don’t tune in to Zee TV over the weekends, we decided to have the fiction shows as it would lead to a walk-in to ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa’ and ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Lil’ Champs’, which will be launched soon.

But don’t you think non-fiction shows work better over the weekend?
Yes, they do. That is why we have ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Lil’ Champs’, which will be aired at the primetime slot of 9 pm. ‘Kumkum Bhagya’ and ‘Kundali Bhagya’ will shift to a 6-day week. These will warm up all the spots. Also, it is sort of a promotion, so the 6-day week will end as soon as ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Lil’ Champs’ starts. 

What has the advertiser response been to a 6-day week?
We have sponsors on all our shows; if the GRPs go up, then it means that the channel is doing well, so nobody loses. 

How have your marquee shows – ‘Kumkum Bhagya’ and ‘Kundali Bhagya’ – contributed to the ratings of Zee Anmol and Zee TV?
The content in both these shows is great, that is the reason why they have been in the top. It is also a function of being in the 9-10 pm slot, so these shows by default will have more people coming in to watch. However, this does not, in anyway, make the other shows any lesser than this. It’s just the beauty of these time slots. 

Is the 6.30 pm time slot to catch your Tier 3 and 4 audiences more than the urban audience?
Not really. There a few shows at 6.30 pm on other channels as well, so there is definitely an audience to watch these shows. It’s a mix of both audiences. Good shows are time agnostic. 

How has 2018 been for ZEE?
We ended 2018 on a great note, bringing viewers a diverse mix of content cutting across genres ranging from strong social dramas to slice-of-life entertainment and supernatural fantasy thrillers. We begin 2019 by introducing audiences to a unique concept with ‘Rajaa Betaa’. The show brushes aside the stereotype of a woman holding the family together and shifts its focus to an ideal young man, orphaned at birth, who on being adopted into a family, ends up adopting his family right back. We intend to fortify our early primetime with this intense, emotional family drama.”

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