Spark Plug

Spark Plug

From dubbed American content to shows from Pakistan and now Hindi programming,Big CBS Spark Punjabi is still trying to find its niche.

From dubbed American content to shows from Pakistan and now Hindi programming,Big CBS Spark Punjabi is still trying to find its niche

This January,after Big CBS Spark Punjabi began airing in Punjab,the channel got CBS’ popular American shows on board and dubbed them in Punjabi. So,there was Jerry Springer chatting away in chaste Punjabi in his talk show while model Tyra Banks did the same in America’s Next Top Model. The channel also screened other popular shows such as Hawaii Five-O and Masked Warriors. At that time,the regional head for the channel,Samir Verma had insisted that the decision “to air primetime American shows dubbed in Punjabi” was demand-driven and an outcome of an exhaustive year-long research conducted across various target groups in Punjab.

However,this summer saw a programming shift and the channel looked across the border for inspiration. Comedy shows such as Nadaaniyan,Bulbule and the iconic Bakra Qistoon Pe were soon added to prime time slots. “This was because Punjabis could relate to that north Indian sense of humour,lifestyle,situations and characters,” reasons Misha Bajwa Chaudhary,regional programming head of the channel. In town to announce the launch of four new shows on Spark Punjabi,Chaudhary counts three of them in the Hindi genre.

While Big Punjaban will showcase the talent of housewives of Punjab,the three Hindi shows titled Hum Hain Bajrangi,Pyaar Ya Dehshat and Police Files,says the programming head,will target the Hindi speaking audience. Which bring us to the question that from foreign dubbed content to shows from Pakistan and now Hindi programmes,is Big CBS Spark Punjabi still trying to find its niche?


“No”,defends Chaudhary. “These are good shows,and have been brought on board after getting feedback from our audience,” she says. The anchor of Big Punjaban,Joe Baath adds,“Punjabis are major consumers of Hindi shows,and our channel is not primarily a Punjabi language channel”.

Actor-producer-anchor Anuj Saxena joins in and nods in agreement. “At the end of the day,it’s all about the TRPs and revenues that programmes generate,and these are big draws,” says Saxena. Chaudhary argues that variety is the spice of life,and that Spark Punjabi is delivering variety entertainment catering to different audience groups. If Big Punjaban is a talent-based reality show that offers the housewives of Punjab a unique platform to showcase their skills,then Hum Hain Bajrangi is a mythology-cum-fantasy sitcom. Pyaar Ya Dehshat is a show on love stories gone wrong while Police Files is a crime show that takes audiences through real-life stories of ghastly crimes. “By bringing forth original Hindi productions from Big Magic — a channel that caters to the Hindi heartland of central India — we are looking at reaching out to a wider set of audiences,” says Chaudhary,who maintains that “audiences are smart and own the remote control”. “They decide and we deliver,”

adds Chaudhary.