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Sony's foray into factual

Sony BBC Earth eyes a high-growth category with insightful but easy-to-consume content

Ritwik Sharma 

sony pictures, sony,

For over two decades, the Indian television audience has been exposed to factual entertainment following the entry of Channel in 1995. Last week marked the launch of the latest entrant Sony BBC Earth, a channel by a joint venture of Networks India (SPN) and is bullish about driving what is viewed as a high-growth category with the help of content that is visually superior, insightful and easy to consume.

In the infotainment segment, Discovery, and are the leading players. Globally, the genre accounts for 12-13 per cent of TV viewership. The low percentage of viewership in India indicates that TV — still the biggest source of entertainment for the masses — remains more of an escape route than serious viewing.

In India, the factual entertainment genre is pegged at Rs 1,500 crore and comprises merely 1.2 per cent of the overall TV viewership. Saurabh Yagnik, executive vice-president and business head, cluster, SPN, points out that the network surveyed viewers across eight cities and identified Indians as being increasingly driven by success and demanding instant gratification. If Sony brings brand building and distribution to the table, its partner BBC is one of the biggest content creators for factual content, he adds. Hence, ensures portfolio expansion for both in India. “Our brand pillars are going to be grand visual spectacle, never before seen or new perspective, and positive insightful storytelling,” says Yagnik.

sony, bbc earth, penguin
Yagnik identifies brand positioning as one of the key tasks for differentiating the channel. “We want to showcase content diversity and provide easy and predictable viewing opportunities. One of the issues that most viewers told us is that they don’t know what to expect when they tune in to watch this genre. We want to tap this opportunity by creating more predictive viewing opportunities,” he says, adding the channel would do so by having distinct slots on science, nature and adventure genres. To emphasise unique storytelling, he cites the example of a show called Wild Wild Earth, which highlights the strategies behind hunting, as against shows that routinely focus on the act of hunting itself.

According to Ayan Banik, head, brand strategy, Cheil India, socio-cultural factors will drive the growth of infotainment in India. He says, “First, we are becoming more and more visually oriented as human beings, in terms of consumption of content. The attention span of millennials is reducing drastically. So, TV is no longer a source of entertainment but also information so long as it is packaged with the right adrenalin quotient. Secondly, because of global warming, pollution or new diseases there is an increasing need for people to understand. The more you know, the more you are equipped to survive in a hostile environment.” As BBC enjoys credibility in terms of fact-based content and Sony has a strong grasp of Indian entertainment requirements, the joint venture is a “juxtaposition of the best of two worlds”.

sony, bbc earth, lizard
will be available in standard and high definition in English, Hindi, and When asked, Yagnik says localising content is good but not a necessary “criterion” in the category. “We find what people are looking for is easy-to-consume entertaining content, content that helps create conversation value, and mind-blowing facts, visuals and stories.”

is being marketed as premium in terms of the content, but given its cultural neutrality the owners hope it would be consumed by large audiences.

Banik points out that infotainment channels are wont to merely dubbing programmes in order to “make it Indian”, and they tend to prioritise the media planner over the consumer so as to attract ads. Also, repetition of factual content — that is more expensive to produce compared to general entertainment — can affect viewer loyalty.

REALITY BITES
* identifies grand spectacle, new perspective and insightful storytelling as brand pillars

* It wants to fill a demand gap by creating more predictive viewing opportunities with distinct slots on science, nature and adventure genres

* It is being marketed as premium, but aims to attract numbers with cultural neutrality

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Sony's foray into factual

Sony BBC Earth eyes a high-growth category with insightful but easy-to-consume content

Sony BBC Earth eyes a high-growth category with insightful but easy-to-consume content
For over two decades, the Indian television audience has been exposed to factual entertainment following the entry of Channel in 1995. Last week marked the launch of the latest entrant Sony BBC Earth, a channel by a joint venture of Networks India (SPN) and is bullish about driving what is viewed as a high-growth category with the help of content that is visually superior, insightful and easy to consume.

In the infotainment segment, Discovery, and are the leading players. Globally, the genre accounts for 12-13 per cent of TV viewership. The low percentage of viewership in India indicates that TV — still the biggest source of entertainment for the masses — remains more of an escape route than serious viewing.

In India, the factual entertainment genre is pegged at Rs 1,500 crore and comprises merely 1.2 per cent of the overall TV viewership. Saurabh Yagnik, executive vice-president and business head, cluster, SPN, points out that the network surveyed viewers across eight cities and identified Indians as being increasingly driven by success and demanding instant gratification. If Sony brings brand building and distribution to the table, its partner BBC is one of the biggest content creators for factual content, he adds. Hence, ensures portfolio expansion for both in India. “Our brand pillars are going to be grand visual spectacle, never before seen or new perspective, and positive insightful storytelling,” says Yagnik.

sony, bbc earth, penguin
Yagnik identifies brand positioning as one of the key tasks for differentiating the channel. “We want to showcase content diversity and provide easy and predictable viewing opportunities. One of the issues that most viewers told us is that they don’t know what to expect when they tune in to watch this genre. We want to tap this opportunity by creating more predictive viewing opportunities,” he says, adding the channel would do so by having distinct slots on science, nature and adventure genres. To emphasise unique storytelling, he cites the example of a show called Wild Wild Earth, which highlights the strategies behind hunting, as against shows that routinely focus on the act of hunting itself.

According to Ayan Banik, head, brand strategy, Cheil India, socio-cultural factors will drive the growth of infotainment in India. He says, “First, we are becoming more and more visually oriented as human beings, in terms of consumption of content. The attention span of millennials is reducing drastically. So, TV is no longer a source of entertainment but also information so long as it is packaged with the right adrenalin quotient. Secondly, because of global warming, pollution or new diseases there is an increasing need for people to understand. The more you know, the more you are equipped to survive in a hostile environment.” As BBC enjoys credibility in terms of fact-based content and Sony has a strong grasp of Indian entertainment requirements, the joint venture is a “juxtaposition of the best of two worlds”.

sony, bbc earth, lizard
will be available in standard and high definition in English, Hindi, and When asked, Yagnik says localising content is good but not a necessary “criterion” in the category. “We find what people are looking for is easy-to-consume entertaining content, content that helps create conversation value, and mind-blowing facts, visuals and stories.”

is being marketed as premium in terms of the content, but given its cultural neutrality the owners hope it would be consumed by large audiences.

Banik points out that infotainment channels are wont to merely dubbing programmes in order to “make it Indian”, and they tend to prioritise the media planner over the consumer so as to attract ads. Also, repetition of factual content — that is more expensive to produce compared to general entertainment — can affect viewer loyalty.

REALITY BITES
* identifies grand spectacle, new perspective and insightful storytelling as brand pillars

* It wants to fill a demand gap by creating more predictive viewing opportunities with distinct slots on science, nature and adventure genres

* It is being marketed as premium, but aims to attract numbers with cultural neutrality
image
Business Standard
177 22

Sony's foray into factual

Sony BBC Earth eyes a high-growth category with insightful but easy-to-consume content

For over two decades, the Indian television audience has been exposed to factual entertainment following the entry of Channel in 1995. Last week marked the launch of the latest entrant Sony BBC Earth, a channel by a joint venture of Networks India (SPN) and is bullish about driving what is viewed as a high-growth category with the help of content that is visually superior, insightful and easy to consume.

In the infotainment segment, Discovery, and are the leading players. Globally, the genre accounts for 12-13 per cent of TV viewership. The low percentage of viewership in India indicates that TV — still the biggest source of entertainment for the masses — remains more of an escape route than serious viewing.

In India, the factual entertainment genre is pegged at Rs 1,500 crore and comprises merely 1.2 per cent of the overall TV viewership. Saurabh Yagnik, executive vice-president and business head, cluster, SPN, points out that the network surveyed viewers across eight cities and identified Indians as being increasingly driven by success and demanding instant gratification. If Sony brings brand building and distribution to the table, its partner BBC is one of the biggest content creators for factual content, he adds. Hence, ensures portfolio expansion for both in India. “Our brand pillars are going to be grand visual spectacle, never before seen or new perspective, and positive insightful storytelling,” says Yagnik.

sony, bbc earth, penguin
Yagnik identifies brand positioning as one of the key tasks for differentiating the channel. “We want to showcase content diversity and provide easy and predictable viewing opportunities. One of the issues that most viewers told us is that they don’t know what to expect when they tune in to watch this genre. We want to tap this opportunity by creating more predictive viewing opportunities,” he says, adding the channel would do so by having distinct slots on science, nature and adventure genres. To emphasise unique storytelling, he cites the example of a show called Wild Wild Earth, which highlights the strategies behind hunting, as against shows that routinely focus on the act of hunting itself.

According to Ayan Banik, head, brand strategy, Cheil India, socio-cultural factors will drive the growth of infotainment in India. He says, “First, we are becoming more and more visually oriented as human beings, in terms of consumption of content. The attention span of millennials is reducing drastically. So, TV is no longer a source of entertainment but also information so long as it is packaged with the right adrenalin quotient. Secondly, because of global warming, pollution or new diseases there is an increasing need for people to understand. The more you know, the more you are equipped to survive in a hostile environment.” As BBC enjoys credibility in terms of fact-based content and Sony has a strong grasp of Indian entertainment requirements, the joint venture is a “juxtaposition of the best of two worlds”.

sony, bbc earth, lizard
will be available in standard and high definition in English, Hindi, and When asked, Yagnik says localising content is good but not a necessary “criterion” in the category. “We find what people are looking for is easy-to-consume entertaining content, content that helps create conversation value, and mind-blowing facts, visuals and stories.”

is being marketed as premium in terms of the content, but given its cultural neutrality the owners hope it would be consumed by large audiences.

Banik points out that infotainment channels are wont to merely dubbing programmes in order to “make it Indian”, and they tend to prioritise the media planner over the consumer so as to attract ads. Also, repetition of factual content — that is more expensive to produce compared to general entertainment — can affect viewer loyalty.

REALITY BITES
* identifies grand spectacle, new perspective and insightful storytelling as brand pillars

* It wants to fill a demand gap by creating more predictive viewing opportunities with distinct slots on science, nature and adventure genres

* It is being marketed as premium, but aims to attract numbers with cultural neutrality

image
Business Standard
177 22