History will remember ’24’ as a gamechanger in Indian television: Raj Nayak

23 Dec,2013

As the clock ticked to the closure of Season 1 of ’24’, the social media was buzzing with chatter on how the Colors mega-series saw Anil Kapoor giving one of his best ever performances. There were others who spoke about the international teleseries’ superior production qualities and how the entire cast put up an excellent act. For Colors and its CEO Raj Nayak, the acquisition and airing of 24 was a huge gamble. In a business where just hiring the best talent doesn’t guarantee success, 24 is sure to raise the bar much on fictions on Indian entertainment television. MxMIndia spoke to Mr Nayak on the how Season 1, which concluded on Saturday (December 21) did for his channel. Excerts from an interview:

 

So how was the ’24’ experience?

For me, it’s been the best experience in my career. And I would say that because my Board gave me the consent and support to go ahead and do a show of such a magnitude that too a fiction show and experiment with something when everybody was sceptical about it. I think people were sceptical because of two things – one, the cost and, two, the quality would be compared to the international format.

 

Was it ‘Paisa Vasool’ for the channel?

Yes, it was Paisa Vasool. I think it was Paisa Vasool because from a strategic point of view, we went with our eyes open. We knew we wouldn’t make money on Season 1, even though we have recovered most of the cost because of the way we monetized it.

 

From a channel and brand perspective, 24 has done several things for us. First, the buzz it has created for me in two months time is possibly the entire PR, we got for our other shows not just in India but globally. Second, it has brought to a Hindi general entertainment channel viewers who probably never watch us – the South Mumbai crowd, for instance now discuss our ’24’. Third, it has also demonstrated how cleverly you can integrate a product within a show if you think it through and do it well. I think that’s what happened with Tata Motors which went on record that its sales has gone up by 30 percent because of 24. You may or agree or disagree with the ratings, but for me, this is the proof of the pudding. Clearly, what 24 has done is create an impact. And it’s not that it ends here. I will re-run 24 on a daily format. When and where I do it is a different issue…

 

As a daily?

Yes, I will strip it to make it a daily. There were many people who missed it on weekends. People would call me often to ask me when the repeat airing was on for a DVD. There is an audience that wants to watch a show like this again and again and again. So if I give it a break and I strip it to a daily format, we will see what it can do again.

 

Hmmmm.

Purely from the RoI point of view, I think 24 was a super success.

 

What about Season 2? Is that on?

We haven’t finalized anything yet but there is intent. Seeing the success of Season 1, I believe Season 2 will do better…

 

No dates firmed up?

No, we haven’t finalized anything yet

 

Internationally, it’s an annual

Yeah! That would be idea here as well. As you know, internationally Season 1 didn’t go well, Season 2 picked up big time and I think that’s a trend that will happen here as well.

 

Are your sponsors going to continue with you for Season 2 as well?

Well, first of all, I would want them to pay double the money because we didn’t know how successful 24 would be (laughs). But, honestly, we also didn’t realize the magnitude of how much value the content would generate and we were very keen on closing the deal because we were going to production then. We have an excellent relationship with Tata motors and from my engagement, they are very happy and I am sure they would want to come in be part of Season 2.

 

Looking back, would you have done things different to get rated better?

Yes, we would have done a few things differently. We have realized   and we have analysed what went wrong and what went right and that is something we will ensure that we will fix in next season.

 

Any one thing that you could tell us?

Well, while keeping it intellectual and slick and everything, there could be a five percent deviation in terms of dumbing it down without taking away the original content and the storytelling, but just making the television grammar a little more Indian.

 

Do you think India is ready for slick or as they in Mumbai lingo a chikna show?

I think India is ready, We know one can’t achieve things overnight. History is often written in retrospective, later in life. This will be one show that will definitely be written about as a gamechanger for Indian television content

 

Any more international show that you are looking at?

I am very and I have also heard that all broadcasters are equally keen and in discussions.

 

We’ve heard Grey’s Anatomy is being done by another GEC…

From what I learn, they are not doing the original version. They haven’t got the rights for it and are possibly recreating something similar. Shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Boston Legal etc are easily adaptable

 

So does Comedy Nights come back to being twice a week?

Yes, Comedy Nights with Kapil will go twice a week again from the first week of January.

 

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