Mediaah! What did Turner imagine a GEC wud do?

13 Apr,2012

By Pradyuman Maheshwari

 

I am as shocked and upset as Sameer Nair about Turner’s closure. Very few in the organisation of the move until Thursday mid-morning when the staff was called for a meeting to be informed of the closure.

 

Remember, it’s a ceasing of business operations and not a suspension. There could of course be a revival at some day in future, but as of now the chances of that are 0%. Turner isn’t suggesting anything. In fact the staff has either been served notice or accommodated elsewhere in the system – either permanently or temporarily.

 

But the moot question is: why did Imagine fail? Why did it not garner enough ratings? And was it wise for Turner to buy the channel from NDTV?

 

In an interview to MxMIndia, managing director for South Asia Siddharth Jain says it was a carefully considered decision to acquire Imagine. If the window it gave the channel to success was so short, guess it was an unwise move. Remember in Sameer Nair, Turner had possibly one of the best brains in Indian broadcast.

 

And as the former Star India CEO rightly maintained, it needed just one great programme for the channel to come alive. Sadly, that never happened. Zor Ka Jhatka with Shah Rukh Khan was a huge flop draining Turner upwards of Rs 50 crore. The Turner bosses weren’t willing to wait for Sameer Nair to make yet another big attempt to win the ratings game. His wings were clipped and that in many ways was the beginning of the end. In May 2011, Sameer quit and wasn’t replaced.

 

Mind you, this has been Turner’s second attempt at running a general entertainment channel. While some of its other channels are doing well, Real – a product of its jv with Alva Brothers – was a disaster. Imagine, under NDTV, was promising and that’s essentially because of Sameer Nair and team. Agreed even SAB outpaced it in channel shares, but that’s essentially because of an improper strategy. But SAB’s story is special. In fact had it not been the endless reruns of CID, SAB would’ve been ahead of Sony too!

 

If this was the decision that they were going to take (and Imagine was indeed going nowhere in terms of ratings), my belief is that the team at Turner did a disservice to its stakeholders. They should’ve pulled the plug the moment Sameer quit last year.

 

The move has folks in tellyland worried. If a foreign network (hence assumed with deep pockets), like Turner can turn off the tap for them, so can anyone else, they say. Turner has assured the trade that its interests will be taken care of and the signals aren’t off yet, but it does impact many lives. As it does for the employees of Imagine.

 

We’re sure they’ll get placed soon. But this jhatka was I think a bit too zor ka.

 

Buzz me if you have a story to tell. Confidentiality assured. There are various ways you can reach me:

pradyumanm[at]mxmindia.com, BBM 23050B5D, Gtalk pradyumanm@gmail.com, Twitter @pmahesh and of course the mobile: 98338 76278.

 

Disclaimer: Although he is CEO and Editor-in-Chief of this site, Pradyuman Maheshwari’s views in Mediaah! are not necessarily those of the rest of the team and MxMIndia.com. And decidedly not those of the sales team :-)

 

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