After a wait of more than a year, Mahesh Samat and his team are all set to launch the Indian history and mythology inspired entertainment channel Epic.
The channel, which was announced mid-2013, will be launched on November 19 and will be available on all leading direct-to-home and digital cable platforms across the country.
The channel ispromoted by Epic Television Networks Private Limited. Samat, who was earlier MD, Disney India, prefers calling the channel a segment entertainment channel since it targets a particular segment of the audiences through its content.
Epic will start its stint with 2.5 hours of original programming a day, which will include a mix of fictionand non-fiction content. Straying from the current trend of daily programming, Samat and company have decided to have weekly shows. The channel will have four fiction and fournon-fiction shows.
"The content of the channel is based on the history of thecountry and its mythology. We have tried to make the narrative as innovativeand the content as differentiated as possible. History and mythology are two subjects that can invoke a lot of conversations and the content focuses onbasing these conversations around the people involved," says Samat.
The shows include a novel adaptation calledSiyasat (adapted from The Twentieth Wife) along with another fiction showcalled Dharamkshetra which explores the nuances of the different characters inthe Mahabharat through their actions during the epic's narrative.
Another showcombines period drama with the suspense genre with Dariba Diaries which is adetective thriller set in the British era of Indian history. In the non-fiction genre, the channel willair Ekaant, a show that explores the history and mystery behind abandonedplaces in the country while viewers will also get to acquaint themselves withthe various royal culinary delicacies from different parts of India.
A 60 minute show called Adrishya documents the lives and achievements of Indianspies over the past 2000 years. The channel will operate on the traditionaladvertising model and Samat reveals that his team is aggressively pitching tothe usual advertisers on entertainment channels.
"The content of the channelsmakes it tough to have advertiser funded programmes, but yes, we are looking atthe traditional ad model very aggressively," he said.
The channel has got investment from AnandMahindra and Mukesh Ambani. While Samat preferred to remain mum on the cost ofstarting the channel, he is confident that the break-even time would be in linewith the norm in entertainment channels at around three to four years.
"In fact, I would say that the delay ingetting the license has given us the chance to be better prepared for launch. Wenow have a better insight into the digitised territories (of phase one and two)and the distribution is also more efficient now," he adds.
The channel will be available in high definitionand will target males and females in the phase one and two cities of digitised India.The content on Epic has been shot on HD cameras.
The packaging of the channel has beenconceptualised and executed by an agency called Dynamite in close association withthe in-house team at Epic.
The logo of the channel, which uses Indian motifsaround the word 'Epic' encased in a stylised box and makes prominent use ofgreen colour, is also designed by Dynamite.