Discovery Communications India has revamped DTamil into an entertainment channel which will have best of programming, curated for family audiences in Tamil Nadu, from across Discovery Network including Discovery, Animal Planet, TLC, Discovery Kids, Discovery Science, Discovery Turbo & Scripps Networks Interactive.
Localizing content is one of their main targets and they have launched the Tamil Version of Fail Army with Tamil Star Karunakaran.
Medianews4u caught up with Sai Abishek, Director–Content, Factual & Lifestyle Entertainment – South Asia, Discovery Communications India for a brief chat on the revamped D Tamil.
How was the show conceptualized? What was the insight behind the show?
We saw that comedy as a genre is something that cuts across viewers in Tamil Nadu because comedy is deeply rooted with Tamil audience in movies and on TV. There have been comedy tracks completely running separately in films, so we knew comedy was definitely a genre we wanted to invest in and so while we were looking at that, we wanted to also see what we can do without having to go completely local, but also bring an existing hit from around the world.
Like Fail Army is the most watched fail video channel in the world, so we had the format and we thought why not create a local flavor and bring Karnunakaran who is a very well-known comic celebrity and so we just married our global strengths with the local strength and we created this.
Fail Army was made for digital but also produced for TV. So it was acquired as a TV format, but we completely changed it for Tamil Nadu.
What are the key USPs of this show in the local Tamil format?
In terms of the show format, we wanted to show Karuna in a new avatar and as he has always been very subtle and we wanted to also show him in a new format for his audiences and fans. The one clear strategy in terms of his look and feel and you must have seen that is not the very Chennai, slang and very colloquial language. We also used a team of writers very close-knit group who were all like inputting into brainstorming on how we can make it more and more colloquial in our current flavour.
It’s also important to see the right pairing; it is not just bringing a global format for Tamil Nadu audience, but also seeing as to how you can really localize it for this market, and which looks local, but also feels local.
What were the challenges you faced while localizing the show?
What we did was we took the script and recreated it according to the local flavour, whatever you see Karunakaran doing on the show is completely written here. So it is a challenge, but it was also an opportunity for us to create something on our own. I think that you can see that as a challenge and opportunity.
The other thing is also, like Karuna mentioned even for him to be the face of the show and completely transformed into this completely over the top character was a bit challenging, but I the teasers are pretty good and things come out quite well.
What made you choose Karunakaran for the show?
To be honest, of course, we discussed who could do such a show in Tamil Nadu we very also very aware of our brand’s sensibilities. We knew Karunakaran has a great reach with kids and family audiences. We knew very quickly when the first interactions with Karunakaran happened and I’d also personally seen some of his movies and yes I could tell that if such a format would happen, he could potentially transform. So it didn’t take very long for us to decide that it would be good for the show. But we did to be to answer your question. We did initially discuss who could do such a show in Tamil Nadu and also bring a new flavour to it.
What is the ratio of original content to acquired content on D Tamil?
I mean it is in our plans to definitely transform D Tamil, what we want to do in Tamil Nadu firstly is local production. But I would like to mentioned that we want to get into all the genres of entertainment that our brands are good at doing, which is food, comedy, kids, crime, horror and other like family friendly kind of formats.
Apart from this, we’re also open to new ideas, the Tamil Nadu market producers have pitched to us, but we’re essentially looking to operate in the space. So I guess at this point, maybe 10 to 20% of local content potentially, but the bulk of our programming will be global and curating specifically for this market will be unique and not like any of the other channels.
Do you plan to bring on Brand Integration for your shows?
Absolutely. We’re open for business and we are speaking to many brands as we move ahead Okay, so yeah, we’re more than happy to do that.
What kind of opportunities they can see in terms of such kind of content?
I guess, when we start making more and more local content and we have a big branded content team program solutions team whose job is to find ways to make it more profitable for both brand game for our network. So I think when we start making the new shows, we will find opportunities for brands to integrate into it and actually we can do that a lot of the brands may not be open to other network brands but we are.
How many such shows have you lined up for this fiscal year in terms of making projecting D Tamil as a new avatar in front of the audience?
I can tell but in terms of the global pipeline, we have a whole raft of programming all those genres I mentioned, from Cutthroat Kitchen to Toddlers and Tiaras. One thing we have birth to conquer launching into we have Master Chef launching in in Q1 again, so we have a whole list of global contents slate. But the local conferences I can’t comment at the moment.
But again, it’s a little early, we should wait for a few months before we can tell you what we’re doing with the local content slate.
Since you don’t have any major competition happening as far as D Tamil is concerned. So what is the kind of viewership share that you’re looking to mop up with this initiative?
I guess I know the number. What we are aiming to achieve in the next year and you’re absolutely right, we’re not competing with SUN TV or any of these networks and they’re not a competition within our own space.
All I can say at this point is we’re very bullish and we want to grow the brand.We are in a unique position. We have the brand strength of both global and with a local flavour, which I feel will be new for this market. So definitely there are aggressive plans for growth. But what that number is something that we can discuss at a later date. Not today.
Can you reveal some interesting facts that you came across about this particular market of Tamil Nadu?
I guess at the top of mind was that definitely that people wanted from because it was a combination of factual lifestyle and regional and was done pan-India. If I look at the whole market, a lot of people here felt the need to have an infotainment factual entertainment brand so personally discovery came out on top and every, like consumer that we spoke to. And
I think the other thing is the brand affinity was very high with the discovery audience. And the third thing of course, a lot of people wanted to see more entertainment formats, which is not only factual but also factual with entertaining elements in the genre.
The fourth one is, of course, they want to see more and more local content. They want to see more things in shown in the TN market, they want to see celebrities, see songs, they want to do songs and they wanted to see more. I guess they were gearing towards more entertainment.
What is your core TG?
From in terms of viewership perspective, it’s a two plus, urban and rural. Tamil Nadu so we are targeting the entire family.
How has been the advertiser response for the show?
There’s definitely been a positive response in this market. We know that like you said, there are three bands already. I think there will be more positive than more people will come and our hope is also to get more and more engage with more and more local brands, find ways to to make itmore local here and that is our aim.
Are you planning to launch TLC in Tamil?
Good Question, we can chat about that. But certainly we’re trying to see what is it all that we localize more and more. It’s also a strength and we suddenly realize more and more And I think on the back of success of the D Tamil,we’re open to look at other regional channels.
Anything else that you would wish to highlight?
I’d like to definitely highlight that all these years Discovery Channel was the only channel that people in Tamil Nadu thought existed from our network. I definitely like to highlight that Discovery Channel of course, our mother and main brand will continue to do all those things that we’ve been doing all these years and do it on a bigger scale.
But DTamil is a companion brand, curated for this market created for this market, which will have completely new shows from the other brands. So we’re trying to grow both and together.
We are also understanding the viewer behavior. So when I’m just taking the best shows, but we’re also trying to see what also works better in this market such as cooking and other genres.We have to create more new content as well and bring fresh shows that hasn’t been on any of the network also.
So the best shows from TLC, Animal Planet, Food Network, Home and gardening Discovery Kids, Discovery science and Discovery turbo. We have a whole bouquet and we are going slot by slot. We can early prime time at six o’clock.