Open Season

With Indian television taking tentative steps towards seasonal format for fiction shows,we debate whether or not the trend can sustain and take over the audience’s daily fix of soap operas

Published: June 14, 2013 12:08:14 am

FOR

Prashant Bhatt

Weekday Programming Head,Colors

In Indian context,the impression is that a daily dose of daily soap works.

Taking a break of three months and then returning with a second season of the show seemed risky since one was not sure whether the viewers would reconnect or follow up. It was a challenge,but we took the plunge with Na Bole

Tum Na Maine Kuch Kaha,and our numbers have swelled in second season as well.

Seasons,especially in fiction programming,have potential,and one needs to tap into the stickiness factor of the show. With Na Bole…,we had the advantage of established characters and people wanted to see them again.

Unlike Choti Bahu (Zee) or Kitani Mohabbat Hai (NDTV Imagine) or Punar Vivah (Zee),Na Bole… is following a true season format. You see,a second season has to be continuation of first,with same characters. Only then will it make sense and connect.

I am confident of this new change as the ratings are speaking for themselves. Yes,we’ve kept it in daily format but with Anil Kapoor’s 24,which will be bi-weekly,we are looking at different ways to keep the seasonal format exciting.

Seasons are here to stay

and they will surely adapt to Indian television because we have the content,the actors,the talent,and in the case of weeklies,we have the budgets too.

AGAINST

Yash A Patnaik

Producer,Veera (Star Plus)

No doubt seasons are the future,and some characters have the ability to go beyond the timeline but TV in India,especially the fiction programming moves at a breathless pace. Unlike the western scenario,attention spans are shorter here,and a break for season two will only make you lose audience,and the prime space.

Moreover,what do you do with the actors,director,writers and technicians between two seasons? In the US,budgets are huge and everyone is on contract and compensated for the time they are off-season too. For instance,Friends cast was paid $2 million,which can actually produce 130 episodes in India. Things work differently here. Our programming size,content and budgets are smaller. The three-month break between two seasons holds the risk of losing the actors and the creative team. It also holds the risk of reviving interest and connect back with audience.

Seasons in India work better in the non-fiction space because they are contest driven. We have different participants,different winners,only the format and budgets remain constant. So,there is less risk. In a

faction show,one needs to capitalise on the story first,establish the characters and then take it forward. Maybe,one can begin with weekend programming,but again,it’s a

process and one has to set the

calendar accordingly.

Debate conducted by Jaskiran Kapoor

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