The channel was rumoured to be called Star Desh. A predictable name to ward off those on the hunt for info on the channel that was set to replace the beleaguered Star One.
But the identity has now been revealed on billboards and social networks. It’s called Life Ok. The descriptor on the channel’s YouTube page says: “Life OK, a new television channel from 18th Dec, through its unforgettable and powerful stories brings to life its unique philosophy of ‘cherishing what you have’. Life OK reminds and invites everyone to value the things that well and truly matter in life like family ties, relationships, valuing traditions and peace of mind, while in the eternal quest for more.”
Since Star India and its public relations agency are tightlipped on the details, we don’t know whether Star One will shut on December 17 or be phased out gradually.
Life OK, it is learnt, will cater to a wide audience targeting Tier 1 and Tier II cities of the country. Special attention is being paid on packaging and presentation. The leadership team has former MSM Sony business head Mr Ajit Thakur at the helm. That, indeed, is testimony of Star India’s plans to launch a serious challenger brand.
A high decibel marketing push is planned for the launch.
But, is there a scope for yeta another general entertainment channel? Top of mind, of course is Colors’ success in the not too distant past. Madison Media CEO Punitha Arumugam explains, “Yes there is room for more channels in the GEC space. A case in point being the launch of Colors when one thought that the GEC market was saturated, Colors launched and expanded the GEC channel share. Also, given the high demand situation for GEC inventory today, there does seem to be room for another channel.”
Colors was backed by differentiated content and big-ticket shows; aggressive marketing and distribution, which helped the channel to grab the No 3 position weeks after its launch. That, however, was introduced as Viacom 18′s flagship GEC channel. Will Life OK be a successful second GEC channel?
There are instances where the second channel hasn’t delivered results as per expectations. Zee Next and Star One are a few examples. Historically, second channels have received motherly treatment from networks, as the strategy has always been towards prioritising investments towards flagship channels. There have been cases where successful shows on the second channel shifted to flagship channels… but, from what is seen of the new channel from Star, special efforts are being made to ensure differentiated programming.
Dentsu Media CEO Divya Gupta believes that a new channel needs to create and carve a niche for itself. “Is there a need? Perhaps not from the consumer perspective, but definitely from the marketers’ perspective! Star would do well to have a successful flanker brand.To be successful, however, it needs a distinct and independent raison de etre, which is a big challenge. The plan to feature ‘Sach Ka Saamna’ may draw initial eyeballs, but longevity and distinctiveness remain a challenge.”
Janardhan Pandey, AVP, Mudra Max had a different view. “It is hard to predict if the new channel from Star will succeed or not. The market keeps changing, so one has to constantly evolve as a channel. In the GEC space, success is rare for a new channel, but obsolete.”
On the programming front, several shows are set to go on air on the new channel. Sach Ka Saamna… Bhrashtachaar Ke Khilaaf, which was to initially feature on Star Plus, has been shifted to Life OK as a strategy to give that extra push to the channel. Others include Tum Dena Saath Mera, Meri Maa, Dil se di dua…Saubhagyavati Bhava and Devon ke Dev…Mahadev.
The channel will launch at 12 noon on Sunday, December 18 with an eight-hour live ‘online concert’ featuring leading leading rock bands and artists like Shankar Ehsaan Loy, Euphoria, Agni, Shaa’ir and Funk, Indus Creed, Salim Sulaiman and Kailash Kher amongst others. Interestingly, the live event will happen only for audiences on the internet, signifying an attempt to woo young, digitally-inclined viewers.
Ms Arumugam remarked, “The success of the GEC channel depends totally on the content and engagement they provide the viewer – so it does not matter whether it is the second channel or the umpteenth channel from the same network”
While all eyes will be on the new channel from Star, there is no doubt these are interesting times in the GEC space, where there is healthy competition between No 2 and No 3 (see table alongside for GRPs and channel shares from November 20-December 3, 2011). If Life OK does have a successful launch, battles will intensify and healthy competition will help increase the genre further.