‘The challenge is to convince the audience to watch English shows’

As the Indian TV industry wakes up to a digital dawn, audiences are going to see a lot of changes in programming, some of which is already trickling in. Especially, in English entertainment, be it movies, general or niche entertainment. Nowadays, it's taking less time for top rated English sitcoms, reality shows and movies to be screened in India, and as Rasika Tyagi, senior VP, English programming, Star India, tells us, things are going to get even better. But then the viewership for English entertainment, too, has to grow, and that's one of the problem areas. While almost 50% of India's population speaks English, not even 5% tune in to English entertainment, though the English movies' pie has grown and is growing. What are some of the shows that work in India, why is MasterChef Australia such a runaway hit, what are some of the new programming we can expect to see on StarWorld and Star Movies? Rasika Tyagi explains in a chat with FE. Excerpts:

How do you choose programmes for Star World? What works, what doesn't?

That's a difficult question, but I think, in India, audiences like characters. So, whatever the genre—crime, romance, adventure—if there are great characters in the show, it always works. So, shows like Castle, Dexter, How I Met Your Mother and even Grey's Anatomy are our top-rated shows because people fell in love with the characters.

So, then how do you decide to show what you show?

I like to question my target audience—say, 15 plus, Sec AB– whether their stories are being represented in what they are watching. For me, my target audience is typically someone who has just graduated, and got a job, is probably in a relationship.

But the English entertainment pie must grow, isn't it?

... contd.

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