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Is Life OK?

Posted December 17th, 2011 by L

The GEC segment of national Hindi TV channels is a crowded place in India . The top 4 slots belong to StarPlus, Zee, Colors & Sony. Star One, launched 8 years ago, has a viewership of just 10% of the leader and so are its ad revenues. With a future not looking ok , this ‘young channel’ is being replaced by ‘Life OK’ starting mid December, with a new range of programming, shorter viewing patterns and reduced advertising.

Official speak : “Life OK will address a certain mindset and not the age group, according to Ajit Thakur, general manager, Life OK. The channel will serve in the age group of 15 plus and offer mixed programmes, including comedies, thrillers and mythologicals. However, every story will have an underlying value. The name Life OK reflects the philosophy of the new brand. Through our stories we wish to tell people that you are free to seek what you want but in your search for more you must not forget what you already have. The ‘values’ concept will be reinforced by ‘brand philosopher’ Madhuri Dixit, who will play the sutradhar (storyteller) and interpret the values in the stories for the audience.

Star One’s entry then was very exciting, targeted at the young audience and not the adult. It was meant for those looking for interesting, fun, not too serious entertainment. It began well, at least. But somewhere along the way it lost hold of its programming and hence its audience. With Ajit Thakur moving in (from Sony) as CEO this August, a total revamp has spelled the end of StarONE.  Its replacement is not specifically targetted at any particular age group. Being so, it sets out to become what others are, a GENERAL entertainment channel for young and adult alike. It also moves out of conflicting waters with ‘Sahara ONE’ with a change in name.

While the group has boldly left out ‘Star’ from the channel’s name, the new name ‘Life OK’ is a dampener. While typical Indian phrases like ‘Kindly adjust’, ‘Horn OK Please’ are pretty much the way we are, ‘Life OK’ is not. It gives an  impression our lives are not happy or happening, but are just OK. That in itself is a very boring, if not negative, outlook. It seems to be trying too hard to be an alternative for the hugely popular ‘All is well’ from 3 Idiots, or the brilliant ‘Life is Good’ US apparel brand. It is not spontaneous or free-flowing, and therein lies its problem. It does not seem to fare well in living room conversations either. Figure this:

“ Star Plus karo naa”
“ Sony lagaanaa”
“ Colors karo”
“ Life OK karo”

It might soon be trimmed down to just ‘Life’ by the ever-shortening youth of today that will not tolerate anything that inconveniences it, especially a name.

As far as the visual look goes, the simple icon is cool. Reminiscent of the gingerbread man, its full of life and its changing poses give it a lot of energy too. Though the gradients & colour combinations could have done with a lot more effort, the icon or the mascot is bubbly enough to cover up all of that.

And yet, its animation playing out  in the brand video is amateurish and lacks zeal. We will have to wait and see how the identity is brought to life in the channel’s video promos.

The current tagline ‘Naya TV channel’ appears transitional, so we will have to wait and see how it wants to position itself in the coming days. For TV channels, success depends heavily on quality of programs and all else is only complimentary. The young may still watch a channel meant for adults and vice versa if the programs are interesting.

So, for Life OK, with programs ranging from ‘Sach ka saamna’ to mythological serials, the future looks just about OK.

Overall
70% on strategy
50% on creativity
60% on execution

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