Anil Thakraney: Lack of imagination

16 Apr,2012

By Anil Thakraney


Even a kid will tell you that there are just toooo many TV channels inIndia. Both, entertainment and news. And even as talks of a shake-out have been doing the rounds for years, more channels are waiting to start operations! Like everything else inIndia, it’s a mad house out there.


Quite obviously, there can be place for only so many brands. The advertising pie is limited, and it cannot be shared by so many hungry mouths. And in the Indian context, a vast majority of a channel’s revenues come from advertising and not through subscriptions. In such a scenario, Imagine’s closure does not surprise me at all… in fact, I wonder what took them so long.


As for the many other struggling channels, they are fortunate to be run by very deep pocketed suits. But those deep pockets, like Turner’s, will dry up at some point. It’s a matter of time.


Imagine came on to the scene in 2008, when the Hindi GECs market was already divided between Star, Zee and Sony. Each had already established itself, and all three channels enjoyed viewer loyalty. To break into this extremely capital intensive and crowded house, Imagine’s only chance was to unleash kickass, totally offbeat programming. ‘Shock and awe’ ought to have been the mantra. 2008 was also the time when the nation had begun showing early signs of tiring of Ekta’s traditional saas bahu sagas, and there was a huge opportunity for Imagine to be the game changer that the market wanted.


Alas, it was not to be. Imagine’s fictional shows were completely me-too, and most of their reality stuff was a huge disaster. ‘Swayamwar’ was perhaps the only ‘hatke’ programme, but in the GECs biz model, reality shows and movies are, at best, jam servings, laid out to entice viewers to the bread and butter fiction shows. And if the latter is a thakela and done-to-death fare, the channel is sunk. Which is exactly what happened with Imagine.


Make no mistake about this: Imagine’s problem wasn’t funds or staying power or distribution or even talent. It was very simply this: Lack of imagination.


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PS: This is a memo Shri David Ogilvy sent out to his employees way back in 1982.


On how to write. It’s fantastic. You will notice that his suggestions, in this day and age of micro blogging and short attention spans, are more valid than ever before.




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3 responses to “Anil Thakraney: Lack of imagination”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Dear Anil,

    I am still waiting and know it for the fact that you will never response. You are one of the journo who writes, in friend and benefactors favour….. It is a SHAME!!!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Dear Anil,
    I was expecting your reply to my mail, but it is a typical behavioral pattern of INDIAN journos….. Go Silence when you want to duck and avoid and shout from the top of the roof if you want to create sensationalism. That’s the reason you have shouting bulldogs on our news channels with their own agendas or print journos with their own affiliations and agendas. REAL AND COURAGEOUS INDIAN JOURNALISM – R.I.P.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Dear Anil,

    It was not money, not even lack of imagination. It was the jhol committed by the ex star JING BANG, which caused the channel to nose dive. It was a disaster right from the word go, considering the kind of moolah being diverted towards the gang behind the operations of this channel, in terms of salaries, bonuses and perks (& benaami partnership with various production houses in producing the shows). Investigate and you will find out. Also who was behind the takeover deal from Turner’s side should also be investigated. It’s hightime the media crooks are exposed like our politicians…. What Say Mr. Thakraney………

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