Yash Chopra, the king of romance in Bollywood, is all set to paint the small screen ‘red’ from January 1. Chopra’s YRF TV has partnered with general entertainment channel Sony Entertainment Television exclusively to launch five shows which will be aired on Friday, Saturday and Sunday between 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm.
“YRF TV is an initiative to engage and entertain the entire family through content which combines high-quality production values with contemporary storytelling, characters, language and environment to which today’s Indian family can relate,” says Chopra. “YRF TV is a natural progression for us. Aditya Chopra (Chopra’s son and heir apparent) took a year off after Rab Ne Bana De Jodi to put this division together along with a young team chosen from the best in the industry,” adds Yash Raj Films Vice-president (marketing & communication) Rafiq Gangjee.
Chopra’s banner, Yash Raj Films, specialises in soft, emotional and dramatic movies, though of late it has attempted other genres too in films like Dhoom, Dhoom II, Chak De India and New York. The television content will be different form whatever it has so far attempted. Of the five shows, one is a reality show, Lift Kara De, which will feature one celebrity each week. The show will be hosted by filmmaker Karan Johar who believes “this unique, indigenous format will give hope and lift the spirits of the entire nation.”
The remaining four are fiction shows. Power is a thriller on the narcotics trade in Mumbai, Seven is a sci-fi serial with special effects seen never before on television, Rishta.com is based on a couple who form a company to find the perfect match for singles, and Mahi Way is about a girl (Mahi) with big dreams.
Sony Entertainment Television, on its part, is banking on YRF TV to improve its fortunes. “We have had a long-standing relationship with Yash Raj Films; most of its movies play across our platforms. Sony as a channel is known to experiment and try out innovations. This alliance will help us consolidate our weekend programming and grow further,” says N P Singh, chief operating officer of Multi Screen Media, the company that owns Sony Entertainment Television.
According to Singh, Sony has witnessed almost 50 per cent growth since July this year after it launched new programmes.
Advertisers and media buyers have responded positively. For the four fiction shows, the channel has sold title sponsorship for Rs 1.5 to 2 crore, while for the reality show the channel is commanding Rs 6 to 7 crore. “Sony has been growing in the last few months, and therefore, is now looking at increasing its yield. These shows are critical for Sony to make its programming stronger, and for Yash Raj Films because it is a new venture for it. They are doing all it takes to make this alliance a success,” says Madison Media COO Harsha Joshi.
“We wanted to try and bring about some difference in television content and viewing habits, and hopefully bring in a large part of the audience who are currently looking for options and who may not be regular TV viewers. We also felt that we should and could bring a little bit of film into television. We are hopeful that we will be able to achieve all of this with the shows we are putting out. We are bringing entertainment home,” says Gangjee.