Shailesh Kapoor | Wanted: Dimaag Wala Filter For Sachin Programming

15 Nov,2013

By Shailesh Kapoor

 

This is the big weekend when he hangs his boots. When all the hype around his retirement and his 200th Test will culminate in what we hope is an exciting climax at the Wankhede over the next 2-3 days.

 

The core age of the cricket viewing audience in India today varies widely depending on the format. It is 35-50 years for Tests, 25-40 years for ODIs, and 15-30 years for T20. Tendulkar’s loyal audience are largely from the first two segments. Which means that they either started watching cricket when he was already playing, or that they have seen his entire career, from the Pakistan series in 1989 onwards.

 

I belong to the second category. My first memories of watching live cricket on TV are from the 1984-85 England tour of India. By the time Tendulkar made his debut, I was a cricket fanatic. I grew out of it to some extent around 1999-2000. Hence, Tendulkar’s performances in his first decade are well-etched in my memory, while the decade that followed is a bit of a blur, besides the 2003 World Cup of course.

 

Which brings me to my problem. As much as I would want to relive those memories, and that footage (which I vividly remember, complete with commentary), I just don’t know what to do about it. There is information everywhere. Star Sports has four channels showing various things on the great man. News channels are doing 24×7 Sachin programming it seems. Social media is abuzz with links to articles, videos, cartoons and a lot more. Newspapers are coming out with special editions. It’s all there, but it’s way too much to make sense of.

 

In the good old DD days, it was easy. If someone was retiring or passed away, DD would make a tribute programme. There was no guarantee on quality, but you knew where to find the tribute. The documentary tribute to Raj Kapoor they aired upon his death was a riveting one. Simi Garewal produced it about four years before the showman died, but came across as highly relevant on the occasion.

 

Today, there is no particular Sachin programme that you can look forward to. Channels are not even promoting Sachin shows anymore. They are promoting Sachin the idea, the concept. But that does not translate into saying that at such time on such day(s), you can watch a great show on Sachin. So, we have to wait for the stand-out shows to go viral on Twitter and Facebook. Call me old-fashioned, but that’s still not my idea of watching TV.

 

This information overload is an increasing phenomenon in general these days. All of us are missing out on so much content that we would have loved to watch, simply because we don’t know where to find it. There are TV guides and EPGs, but individual tastes are so diverse and complex, just “genres” are not enough to recommend shows to audiences.

 

Borrowing from Krrish 3, what we really need is a ‘Dimaag wala filter’. An app or a website that can read my mind, find my ‘real’ tastes and preferences, and recommend very specific programming to me around it.

 

It’s a technology challenge, all right. But if addressed, it can open doors for niche channels and cutting-edge niche content like never before.

 

Meanwhile, if you know a good Sachin show airing on TV, please share the details of telecast.

 

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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