Last month,Star Networks pulled the plug on its youth-oriented channel,Star One. Keeping in step with the changing dynamics of the society,they wanted to address a multi-layered audience,something they felt neither Star Plus nor Star One had been able to achieve. So,Life OK was launched with a mix of fictional,reality and mythological shows.
Life OK addresses a certain mindset,not an age-group, explains Ajit Thakur,General Manager,Life OK. We are looking at a 15-plus audience,and through our stories,we wish to showcase the core of Indian middle-class families where material aspirations are high but values are equally important, says Thakur.
The channel currently has on air Meri Maa,Dil Se Di Dua…Saubhaghyavati Bhava,Tum Dena Saath Mera,Devon Ke Dev…Mahadev and the reality show Sach Ka Saamna. However,the programming does not seem very different from other general entertainment channels (GECs) on air,including its sister-concern,Star Plus. Bank official Bindu Pillai who watches Dil Se Di Dua,says,The show deals with the trials of Jahnvi,faced with an over-possessive and abusive husband,while Tum Dena Saath Mera is about a couple who moves to Mumbai after marriage and their struggles in the city. The concepts are good,but the angst and struggles of individuals have been showcased by other channels too, she points out.
However,Thakur does not view this as an overlap. The shows tell you that you are free to seek what you want but in your search for more,you must not forget what you already have, he says. These values are reinforced by Madhuri Dixit-Nene,who plays the sutradhar or the brand philosopher at the end of each episode. This is also a first by any channel, claims Thakur.
Life OK telecasts serials on all seven days of the week as opposed to the usual five-day programming. The episodes are 20 minutes-long,with each commercial break under two minutes. This implies that Life OK airs three shows in one hour.
Some of the shows on air are Hindi adaptations of popular shows on Stars regional channels. For instance,Meri Maa is the adaptation of Tomay Chara Ghum Ase Na on Star Jalsa. While the show will have a recall value,we will get the chance to take it to a larger audience, says Bharat Kaul,the shows producer.
Despite these steps,the concerns of launching a new brand in an overcrowded market are high. However,the producers and creative heads working with the channel do not appear worried. Rajita Sharma,producer of Tum Dena Saath Mera,says,With a brand like Star Plus backing the channel,and with experienced heads around,one can rest assured about the marketing and audience.