Shailesh Kapoor: Wake up to a World beyond Formulaic Entertainment

20 Apr,2015

By Shailesh Kapoor

 

We are 12 weeks down in 2015, and it’s not been the most action-packed year on the entertainment business front. If you discount the Cricket World Cup, which just happened to be scheduled in this period, and the cautious excitement around BARC, there’s little that the TV industry has to show at the end of the first one-thirds of 2015.

 

&TV’s launch has been one of the highlight events, but the channel has subsequently stabilised around its launch numbers, now waiting for the next push that could take it into the big league. There have been the regular show launches on Hindi GECs, and some of them have emerged as financially-sound propositions for their channels with above-par ratings, but none of them have made an impact that could fundamentally change the nature of programming in the category.

 

Ironically, the most exciting programming news of the year so far was around foreign content. HBO brought Game Of Thrones Season 5 to India at the same time as the rest of the world. Despite catering to a niche, it was a move big enough to be taken note of.

 

But look for other such moves and you would struggle to find much in these four months. The news, the regional, the movie and the kids genres continue to dish out their regular fare. No ideas have been powerful enough to shine through and make an impact.

 

Star’s immensely successful launch of the Hotstar app is perhaps the biggest television success story of 2015 so far. But if content innovation goes missing, no platform would help over time.

 

The story is not very different on the Bollywood front. In fact, it’s worse by a margin. Four months down, no Hindi film has crossed the 100 crore mark, which was being seen as ‘too easy’ till a year ago. The only film in line to achieve that benchmark is a foreign film, Furious 7, which has opened and sustained better than any Hindi film this year. And with the next Avengers movie lined up for April 24, we will soon have Hollywood taking the top two spots, while Hindi releases struggle to stay afloat in what is turning out to be the worst period for the industry in about a decade.

 

At the heart of all these symptoms is the problem of not innovating enough. Replicating existing success stories through variants (called ‘formula’ in our industry) is fine to a point, but when that becomes the only way of working, you are in for long-term trouble.

 

The audience taste, and exposure to content online and worldwide, is evolving faster than ever before. So while mainline channels struggle to innovate, we have TVF’s Permanent Roommates clocking more than a million views per episode. Before we know it, another couple of online ideas work and we could be talking of a potential dent in television viewership that’s visible on the left side of the decimal point.

 

Wake up, people. Show us something new, something that stands out as original and exciting, something that truly breaks the clutter, as you like to say.

 

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One response to “Shailesh Kapoor: Wake up to a World beyond Formulaic Entertainment”

  1. Avinash says:

    Agree with your point Shailesh about Hindi Movies. One more reason is bollywood makers not utilising the release dates. It is surprising that bollywood has no big releases in the first 6 months and all big releases r lined up from July onwards. with all big releases fighting for the dates. We should be waiting for the first national hit till then leaving the cinema owners high n dry.

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