Sameer Nair, the group chief executive of Balaji Telefilms, one of India’s biggest production houses, talks about where the industry is headed.
What is the future of Indian television?
The entertainment industry in India is witnessing a major transformation, not just in terms of what content is consumed but also in terms of how it is consumed. In the past, the entertainment needs of Indian viewers were met with TV and films. Iconic shows like Mahabharat and Ramayana ensured that TV viewing became an integral part of the audiences’ Sunday routine in the ’80s. Similarly, shows such as Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki made dinnertime TV viewing a family affair. Likewise, the release of anticipated movies has always been met with gusto. However, the advent of the internet and evolution of the viewers’ lifestyles is changing the definition of entertainment. Entertainment is now about watching what one wants to watch, how much ever he or she wants to watch, at a time and on a device of personal preference. Trends indicate that more and more viewers will start adopting the digital medium as their preferred medium of entertainment.
Are the types of shows that Indians are looking for changing?
Most households in India that have a TV own a single television set. This makes the TV watching experience in India a family affair. Hence, most channels in India air shows that are appreciated by the entire family. Therefore it is quite common to see news, drama, comedy, reality, music and dance emerge as the preferred genres. However, India is a diverse country and there is an audience for almost every genre. The digital medium helps creators produce content that one normally wouldn’t see on television. Hence, the digital medium is more experimental and diverse in nature, providing content in multiple genres, making it increasingly popular.
What is Balaji Telefilms doing to adapt to the changes in the way that Indians are viewing programmes?
We have always adapted ourselves to the changing consumer needs through our TV shows and films. And now, through our soon-to-be launched platform, ALT Balaji, we will be offering original, exclusive and edgy content to viewers who are hungry for good content that is different from what they have already seen on television or in films. We will be launching the platform this year with stories that have never been told before. Meeting audience demands for unique content is going to be the next major hurdle that the television industry will need to overcome.
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