Shailesh Kapoor: All Eyes on 24!

04 Oct,2013

By Shailesh Kapoor

 

There can’t be another topic for this column today. In what will be eventually remembered as one of the watershed events in the history of Indian television content, the Indian adaptation of popular series ’24’ goes on air on Colors tonight. The channel has promoted the show aggressively over two months now. When the first look broke, its film-like sleek look caught the attention of many in the media. And the interest continues to grow, as we get closer to the first episode.

 

The million-dollar question, of course, is: Will ’24’ succeed in India, a market grown and fed on traditional family soaps in the name of fiction content? I won’t hazard a guess, but it is worth defining what “success” could mean in context of ’24’. All well-executed onternational non-fiction formats have taken their time to grow over seasons in India, as audience familiarity increases with each season and hence does their comfort level with the format.

 

I’d expect ’24’ to be no different. To me, the first season will be a testing ground and an average TVR of 2.5-3 should be good enough for the channel to green-light Season 2, which I’d expect then to be bigger. So, we are not looking at 4-5 TVR. That would be unreasonable on many counts, especially the unfamiliar fiction genre 24 offers to a relatively under-exposed audience base.

 

What if ’24’ succeeds?

 

If ’24’ delivers to the industry’s general perception of success, we can expect two key changes. For one, you will see other channels getting bolder and more pro-risk in their fiction choices. After all, not too many channel executives actually relate to the content that they have to dish out, and in that sense, find themselves ‘creatively blocked’ by audience demands. ’24’ will allow them to express themselves better, coming out with ideas that they can truly relate to. Like always, you will see outrageously silly ideas too. But that’s a part of the deal.

 

The second change will be in the talent itself. In the ’80s and the early ’90s, many prominent writers, directors and actors were a part of mainstream television, till daily soaps took over and only the likes of Alok Nath could sustain their interest. With ’24’, and Sony’s forthcoming show by Anurag Kashyap, we are seeing the return of film talent to television content after two decades. The floodgates may open if ’24’ works.

 

What if ’24’ fails?

 

This is an option many of us will dread, purely because it will rob us of new and interesting content in the immediate future. Secretly, many in rival channels are praying for ’24”s success, because of this reason.

 

If ’24’ fails, it will propagate the myth that Indian audiences are not ready for content innovation. The truth is that the audiences may be ready, but there is a difference between being ready and being diehard consumers. The journey from readiness to fan-following needs time, hand-holding and a couple of seasons. One would like to see Colors back this property for at least one more season, even if it doesn’t work this year.

 

Shailesh Kapoor is founder and CEO of media insights firm Ormax Media. He spent nine years in the television industry before turning entrepreneur. The views expressed here are his own. He can be reached at his Twitter handle @shaileshkapoor

 

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One response to “Shailesh Kapoor: All Eyes on 24!”

  1. pinki says:

    This kind of show reminds me of DD 2 days – where movie was divided and shown as a series.

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