After launching the Bengali general entertainment channel (GEC), STAR Jolsha, in October this year, STAR is ready to enter the Marathi hinterland, with its Marathi GEC, STAR Pravah, in mid-November.
‘Pravah’ means ‘flow’ in Marathi and the network hopes to connect with Maharashtrian viewers through deep rooted cultural content.
Speaking to afaqs!, JC Giri, executive vice-president and general manager, STAR India, says the channel reflects the aspirations and pride of the people in Maharashtra and will cater to their needs. An in-depth study was carried out across Maharashtra by the network, which suggested that there was a need gap.
“Through our research, we found that the viewers did not wish to watch melodramatic content and wanted more culturally oriented programming,” he explains.
The study also reflected that the storytelling format needed to change because viewers were bored of stories being dragged on for too long. Hence, the three aspects that STAR Pravah hopes to focus on are entertainment that reflects Maharashtrian culture, values and ethos, and entertainment that is progressive, yet contemporary.
The USP of the channel will be its look and feel. Uday Shankar, chief executive officer, STAR India, says the treatment given to the channel is the same as that for any national channel. One of the reasons why Marathi channels haven’t taken off is low production values and the secondary treatment meted out to them, STAR officials believe. Quality entertainment and high production values will, therefore, be key features of STAR Pravah.
To start off, the channel will launch its big ticket, driver show Raja Shivchhatrapati, an epic tale about the Maratha hero, Shivaji. Produced on a large scale by renowned set designer, Nitin Desai, who has movies such as Jodhaa Akbar to his credit, the show hopes to set new standards in Marathi entertainment.
“The grandeur and scale of this show is unmatched with any other show on regional television, and perhaps, even on national television,” claims Shankar. The channel is spending huge monies on the show.
“We hope to touch the chords of our viewers and set new benchmarks in multigenre Marathi content in TV today,” Shankar adds.
STAR Pravah will feature programmes such as talk shows, historical epics and comedy shows. The marketing campaign for the channel will be kicked off by the beginning of November.
Currently, the Marathi GEC space has four players: ETV Marathi, Saam TV, Mi Marathi and Zee Marathi.
6 months ago