Dec 2, 2008

Entertainment - India;9X to continue with reruns;plans to revisit its future content strategy

Sumantha Rathore

Couch potatoes across the country breathed a sigh of relief on December 1, when the 20-day strike called by the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) ended. While most of the general entertainment channels (GECs) have already started showing fresh content, 9X, the Hindi GEC from INX Media, has decided to continue with the reruns. The idea is to take advantage of this forced gap and relook at its programming strategy.

Soon after the decision to call off the strike was taken, shooting for most of the channels started on November 24. However, 9X has not given a go-ahead to most of its producers to start shooting fresh episodes and continues to air reruns. The channel is hoping to win back its lost audience with a fresh lineup.

Many of its existing programmes might be discontinued. Chak De – Shaher Di Kudiyan Te Galli De Gunde, a reality show on 9X, was taken off air recently. There is a buzz that many other shows are also on the verge of being axed.

A senior company official at INX Media inform afaqs!, “We have decided to revamp our programming. We are working to a plan. We are looking at all our existing shows and will take a final call on them shortly. We will come back with a revamped programming lineup and will soon share the details.”

Company sources claimed that the funding issue INX Media was facing has been resolved.

“It seems that there have been some speculative and inaccurate news stories, which cast doubts on the future of the Hindi GEC, 9X. But the recent period of TV producers' industrial action has redefined the leadership stakes in the category and there is no certainty that the earlier leader will regain leadership status, post the fresh ratings reports. We are, therefore, using this period of disruption to revisit our future content strategy," the company official adds.

During this period of economic slowdown and disrupted viewing patterns, it is not easy to decide which channel will emerge as the No. 1 player. “Due to the global economic uncertainty, recent industrial issues and also due to viewers switching to news channels, we believe that the audience shares for GECs will fragment more quickly than was originally anticipated. This new reality will then provide fresh opportunities,” says the senior company official.

INX Media has three channels: 9XM, a youth oriented Hindi music channel; 9X, a Hindi GEC; and NewsX, an English news channel.

No comments: