New Delhi, Aug 1 (IANS) The key to success in the entertainment sector is to not take consumers for granted and to not be afraid of experimenting, says Ferzad Palia, Head, English and Youth Entertainment, Viacom18.
Colors Infinity, a vital part of Viacom18’s bouquet of English entertainment options, completed one year since it was launched to bring some riveting international as well as home-grown shows to the Indian small screen.
Palia said going down the less travelled road worked for them, and they plan to continue on the same route.
“The biggest learning for us is never to take consumers for granted and that has paid off rich dividends because we continuously experimented and the audience chose to agree or disagree of what to put out for them,” Palia told IANS over phone from Mumbai.
He added: “We will continuously experiment and keep our ear to the ground — both internationally and in India as to what the consumers are looking for and what is getting created in the US, UK and various other market from where we can get content.”
The channel was launched on July 31 last year with a promise of giving its viewers a unique television experience. It caught attention for instant premieres of shows like “Mr. Robot”, “Tyrant”, “Better Call Saul”, “Heroes Reborn”, “Blindspot”, “Shades of Blue”,” Arrow” and “FLASH”, and even for culling out local English content with “The Stage” and “Born Stylish”.
One of the first catch about Colors Infinity was that it was launched with shows curated by a team of specialist including actress Alia Bhatt and filmmaker Karan Johar.
Palia says it has been a fantastic journey till now. He is glad that most of the experiments worked in their favour.
“We have done a few things that separated us from the rest — whether it was bringing content in the real time while it was airing in the US or introducing properties here that they would not have seen because everyone was trying the tried and tested route,” he said.
Talking about the learning, he said: “I think one important learning was that until you try something really different, you won’t really move the needle. In hindsight, thankfully a lot of the things that we did, have worked for us… Not everything worked, but thankfully at least 80 to 90 per cent of the things that we did happened to work for us.”
By getting English content, Palia also feels that they are taking on piracy issues.
He said: “There are people who come to us and say that they don’t need to pirate or illegally download content anymore because they are getting best of everything in real time without data consumption cost and in the best possible quality which is HD.
“I am not saying that piracy has completely ceased but the fact of the matter is that we have at least started the journey of giving consumers an option not to have to go that route.”
So what about the road ahead?
“We are doing a lot of more local home-grown programming like ‘The Stage’ — which was a phenomenal success in its first year and is coming back with season two. We will keep on experimenting with various programming, strategies, and scheduling.
“We will keep experimenting and hopefully most of the things that we do will pay off for us,” said Palia, without delving into details about the home-grown shows that are slated for this year.