Sony to experiment more in 2015, SET's Bhalwankar
Indian Television industry has a lot to cheer these days. In the last few years Indian broadcasting industry witnessed a lot of changes whether it is the way content is being produced and consumed. Thus in the quest to grab as many eyeballs as possible and to create a niche, every channel is trying to either create differentiated content or innovate their already existing properties.
With changing consumer preferences there is a constant need and demand of unique content hence a lot of genres have witnessed experimentation and innovation. Out of which there are quite a few ones who have been hot favorites for the channels over a long period of time. They have undoubtedly played well for respective channels, but at same time the content that is being produced has somehow created a certain kind of fatigue level among the audiences.
To the top the list is the Crime genre. This genre has been in the television space from quite some time now and a of lot broadcasters have tried, tested and experimented in the same. One of the oldest shows on Multi Screen Media’s, Sony Entertainment Channel (SET), Crime Patrol which was launched back in 2003, has successfully completed 12 years. Today the channel stands tall and is celebrating the success of the show which is being perceived tremendously well in the Indian market.
Crime Patrol which is a weekend property, is an anthology series, is created by Subramanian S. lyer and Neeraj Malik. It was initially created by Cinevistaas Limited, while later seasons are created by Optimystix Entertainment.
Crime Patrol is not only one of the longest running reality crime television series in India but is also conceived as a reality series, where cameras travel with the law enforcement authorities to capture crimes live.
To get deeper insights about the journey of the show, Adgully caught up with Subramanian Iyer and Ajay Bhalwankar, Chief Creative Officer, Sony Entertainment Television who also spoke about SET India's plans going forward, their content strategy and much more
When asked about the thought while picking up cases, he said, "We pick up cases which are of core concern and by which we can make our audiences alert. We do not look at it with a sensational point of view but in an impactful way. We look at Crime Patrol as a platform to make people aware about the crime that is happening around them hence we show smallest of smallest cases and big ones too."
Well no doubt about the fact that creating each episode of a show like Crime Patrol requires huge amount of research and resources, when asked about the challenges that the team faces, Iyer said, "Every day is a challenge and creating every episode requires a lot resources and time as we show the intricacies of a criminal case. There are some cases that get solved by the law and we keep getting information thus we keep on creating episodes but at one point there is paucity and that poses a challenge for us. As you must have noticed at the end of every episode we tell our viewers the status of the case."
Iyer also mentioned that the research team of the show is spread from Jammu and Kashmir to Kanyakumari. “We have free-lancers, stingers etc to work in the remote villages. One episode of Crime Patrol has a script of approximately 3000 pages,” Iyer adds.
Looking at the need and demand of the show, Crime Patrol which is telecast on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 10.30 pm, the channel was working towards increasing the number of telecast days but the idea was dropped because creating one episode from conceptualising to shooting was consuming sufficient amount of time. Bhalwankar said, “Sometimes it takes around 3 to 4 months to create one episode and sometimes it is stretched to 6 months too hence we dropped the idea of increasing the airing days. We believe in qualitative content and not quantitative content.”
As it is quite visible that the almost every broadcaster has atleast one Crime based show, so when asked Bhalwankar that did Crime Patrol being one of the longest running shows faced any kind of challenges he said, "No not all. Neither did we see our viewers moving away from the show nor did we face a challenge in terms of creativity. Unlike other shows we do not put across a story in a glamorous way rather we believe in being authentic and true to our show's content philosophy."
When asked about the response from the viewers, Bhalwankar mentioned that Crime Patrol is one of the top rated shows of Sony and stands at the top among other shows in the crime reality genre too. Bhalwankar said, “Not only Crime Patrol is a television series but has today created a niche among its audiences. Interestingly Crime Patrol has gone beyond being just a television show. The police departments of various states have approached the channel for DVDs etc in terms of using it for training purposes in their departments. The Maharashtra Police has taken 150 such DVDs so far and these are used during the training of police officers.”
It seems that 2015 has kind of re-infused some kind of energy in the channel and the year seems to be quite interesting for the viewers. The channel will be seen launching quite a few big properties during Indian Premiere League and will also been seen strengthening its already on-air properties. "With all our shows we have been qualitatively catered to the need and demand of our viewers. There is special kind of demand from our viewers from us and we focus towards catering to that at every point whether it's by getting new shows or strengthening our on-air properties," Bhalwankar added.
SET is all set to entertain its audiences with Mahabali Hanuman and Suryaputra Karn. When asked Bhalwankar whether there is much need and demand for mythology/historical shows in the market, he said, "The demand is of differentiated content and not for a particular genre. Mythology and history are two genres which have been tried and tested since the start of the Indian Television history. The content in these genres has been quite repetitive and that is what we wanted to break hence we thought of exploring the story of Karn before and beyond just his role in Mahabharata."
As the year goes by the channel will surely give its viewers a taste of differentiated content in every possible way. | By Aanchal kohli | Twitter: @aanchalkohli