Posted: 03 May 2011 at 2:21pm
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Thought this article might be of interest to you'll.
Lets observe a moment of silence as we visit the graveyard of TV's recent casualties.
26 shows across 5 channels, met with their end – timely or otherwise within a span of just 8 months. A minuscule percentage of these made it back with a 2nd season, a time tested trend overseas but one that is still, much to the chagrin of fans, in its infancy on desi shores.
Welcome to the world of disruptive programming. A twisted theory that purports to gain viewership numbers by changing the playing field constantly. This telly torture - the channels bait for new viewership, has made for rather perplexed audiences, who either resign to their lot, or surf away, never to return.
Take the case of the Sept 2010 demise of Bairi Piya. While the show was at a crossroad in TRPs ; the decision and the subsequent implementation of that decision to axe it left one wondering if the lead actors had in real life fallen off a cliff. Nothing less could have warranted such an abrupt end.
It also signaled to us that programming choices were made as boardroom decisions, not for the sake of resourceful enterprise, but simply to appease media buyers, promising newness in content and thus a supposed renewed vigor in a progressively schizophrenic audience.
Lets segment our audience then, yes, the folk that bring in the bonuses for the media buyers. There are those that are in for a bit of light entertainment and will watch anything – labeled by the fundoos as channel surfers, off for a snack in-between; then there are the die hard fans, those that drop everything when it's time - a growing number of this kind will catch a missed episode on their computers, e-frothing at the mouths in online forums about their shows, and then there are the nostalgic ones - those that will relentlessly watch old episodes on YouTube, just to get their kicks from the past, because nothing else is 'worth it'. Now this is not my idea of educating you in human behavior, but the point is: the audience need to get used to it, then they need to like it, and finally they need to need it, whereupon they need more of it. Take it away in the middle of the process and no one wins.
Market research is an expensive tool, if done expertly it exposes not only consumer needs, but emotions too, in the fundoos world again, it shows us what buttons to push, and those that say don't touch! But gathering consumer feedback, today is not simply a matter of buying data, it involves tapping into the cyber world of social networks, forums and twittering birds – "nothing to do this evening fav show axed" is an all too familiar rant that often brings in a 100 likes within the first hour or so. These 'rabid fans' are the kind that channels/PHs should want on their side. It is just a matter of time before someone smart sees that these folks are a powerful community worth staying in relationship with. A simple on-line scan will give Mr./Ms. Program manager an idea of the carnage they leave behind when once again the dictum of disruptive programming is exercised.
So what Mr./Ms. Program manager is the method in your madness – or are you just telling your viewers you don't give a s**t.
Ana Mody (Pseudonym)