The Lockdown has brought viewers close to their TV screens: Prashant Bhatt

Dangal TV is all set to launch its third original show, called ‘Prem Bandhan’. The show marks the channel’s first collaboration with production house Balaji Telefilms. Premiering on November 30, the show will air on Monday to Saturday at 7:30 pm.

In conversation with Adgully, Prashant Bhatt, Head - Programming, Dangal TV, and Vishesh Verma, Head of Marketing and Communications, Enterr10, speak about their new show, marketing efforts and original content line-up for the next 3 months.

Watching the promo of your new show, it looks like a marriage is underway but there is a tension between the two families. Tell us more about the premise?

Prashant Bhatt: You’ve picked up the right red flag. There is a wedding happening and something is amiss. This show is a social drama, with romance providing a strong backbone. As with every Balaji show, the look and feel of the show is as important as the content. Ektaji has once again told a unique story.

The story is based in a small town called Darbhanga in Bihar, with a strong family background premise. The theme is about how life and relationships change post marriage. It is about the protagonist Janaki Shrivastava and the new silences she faces after marriage and how she circumvents these situations, thereby falling in love with her husband and her family.

How did you come to collaborate with Balaji Telefilms?

Prashant Bhatt: Dangal TV is looking at original content. We have launched two new originals in the last one and a half months. There is ‘Devi Adi Parashakti’ by Swastik Productions and ‘Aye Mere Humsafar’ with Shashi Sumit Productions.

The word is in the market that Dangal TV is commissioning new originals and with the reach and impact that Dangal TV has on its viewers, it was not a surprise for us to hear from basically every production house. It was a matter of personal joy for me when Balaji collaborated with Dangal, because our association goes way back. Nothing could be better because we all know that Balaji’s content is top notch.

Are viewers still glued to TV screens post the IPL and peak festive season? What was the strategy for launching the show now?

Prashant Bhatt: The viewers have never left the TV screens. The last six months of the Lockdown has brought the viewers close to their TV screens, iPads, mobile phones and content. I would say that the bond a viewer shares with the television set is far stronger than pre-COVID times. The TV has been an integral part of the family and the last seven months around are not going to evaporate just because of the Unlock situation now.

Like any other show, this is also going to be a long running show and in-spite of the relaxations of the Lockdown, people will come back home to the television, which has been a constant companion during the Lockdown months.

What are the viewership trends that you are anticipating in December, where under normal circumstances people might be holidaying during this period?

Prashant Bhatt: Based on the numbers that GECs have garnered in the past few weeks, the viewership trend has gone back to what it was during the pre-COVID times. During COVID, which were stressful times and the GECs were running out of content, there was definitely a major bias towards mythological shows. That’s normal because we gravitate towards God and religion for our own peace of mind.

Post relaxation, once the GECs started with their original shows, the viewership patterns reverted to what it was earlier. They still want their comedy, family dramas, romance, and dose of kitchen dramas. In fact, viewing patterns are stronger now post Lockdown because the attitude towards content is ‘Apno Ka Saath Rahe Ya Na Rahe – Content Rahega’.

What is the entirety of the marketing efforts across media platforms for the show?

Vishesh Verma: We are undertaking a robust marketing effort for the launch of the show. We have a firm belief in making our content reach our loyal viewers and ensure that they get the appointment viewing experience that they are looking for. We are doing television, out of network, print, radio, and digital. We are taking every aspect into consideration to take this show forward. We are going to extensively use our network strength for this one. Enterr10 has multiple channels and we will be doing roadblocks at 7.30 pm across our network so that viewers will be able to experience the content.

Are you predominantly looking at the women TG for the show?

Vishesh Verma: It is but obvious that the women TG will watch the show, but research suggests that men equally enjoy family dramas. People are spending so much time at home today that we are also looking to reach out to a male audience. There is a healthy balance in our marketing mix to reach both male and female audience.

What is the programming line-up that Dangal TV has planned in the coming months?

Prashant Bhatt: We have four new originals lined up between the months of December and February. These are going to be Prime Time properties airing both on the weekdays and weekends. We are in various stages of production at the moment and you will soon see these in the next 3 months.

Have investments in original content improved your viewership ratings?

Vishesh Verma: We have been No. 1 many times in U+R and if you look at the overall average ratings for the year we still hold a very strong position in the market. It is the order of the day that we start looking at content that viewers can appreciate much more than what we have already done. It is a natural progression to get into content which is more refreshing. The growth of the channel has been promising and we are seeing a positive trend in viewership.


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