Lifestyle programming gets trendy

Lifestyle programming gets trendy

TV BRANDING

Lifestyle programming gets trendy

 Belly dancing: ‘Shimmy’ is one of the many new shows launched by Travel & Living Channel.Come September 1, it will adorn a ‘hipper’ look and don a new name TLC (Travel & Living Channel). And the fact that India is part of its initial launch, globally it will be known as TLC in about 75 countries by next April-May. This shows the importance India has in Discovery’s scheme of things, especially because of the growing popularity of its channels in the nation’s market.

And it’s not going to be just another makeover — the channel, which spends $800 million a year in production of fresh programmes, will come in with 15 new shows, six new hosts, 11 new seasons of existing series, and a promise of much more. Among the new shows will be Everyday Exotic, Fun Asia, Sea Nation and Bob Marley – Freedom Radio. But why this change in name?

Explains Rahul Johri, Senior Vice-President and General Manager (India) of Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, “It is the culmination of the first phase of the channel’s existence, and with the new name, the channel will come in with a new dimension to lifestyle programming in innovative formats, spunkier hosts and swankier locales.” Of course, the core focus of the channel, which is lifestyle-based factual entertainment on subjects like travel, cuisine, adventure, environment, home improvement and human interest stories, will remain to be the same, he adds.

In the Indian context, the channel has quite a few plans, especially local programming. “We did the groundbreaking Living With a Superstar with Shah Rukh Khan last year, which became highly popular not only in India but in Malaysia too where it was a top-rate show, and large parts of south-east Asia. We plan to take such concepts forward. India is one of the priority markets for Discovery, so having local content is very important for us,” says Johri.

Included in these plans is the idea of taking the Living With a Superstar forward, with the possibility of featuring not only movie stars but also stars from other streams of society. “Discovery Travel & Living has recorded the highest growth among all Indian channels in the last six months compared to the previous six months.

Among the English channels, we are positioned only after Star Movies and HBO in terms of popularity. We now plan it to take it to the next level,” he says. In fact, among Indian programmes, Vir Sanghvi’s Asian Diary has been quite popular in other countries too, he points out.

The channel’s new look will be complimented by quite a few scintillating shows. For example, in Shimmy, belly-dance instructor Kim Pechet will unravel the secrets of the exotic dance form, including how it can be converted into an energetic, low-impact aerobic choreography to burn the extra calories. In Everyday Exotic, host Roger Mooking will talk about food through an interesting mix of music and gourmet, and in Fun Asia, bubbly Janet Hsieh will take the viewer on a tour of destinations beyond the regular tourist haunts.

The new programming line-up also features interesting concepts like living at  sea (Sea Nation), taking up the most extreme culinary challenges (Glutton for Punishment), visiting the world’s biggest festivals, parties and events (World Party) and trying out outrageous tasks like holding molten lava in the hands with just a pair of gloves on or driving an undersized car in the world’s deadliest demolition derby. TLC sure believes in taking its viewer to the world lived in the fast lane, and with its new look and feel, it sure wants to make it even better.