“To become a successful television professional, one must have immense love and respect for the medium” – Ms. Suzana Ghai
The first SMC (School of Media and Communication) Masterclass of the session was conducted by Ms. Suzana Ghai, Producer, Panorama Entertainment, who is an alumna of the New York Film Academy and The National Film & Television School, United Kingdom. After finishing her studies, she forayed into the Indian Television industry in the year 2003 out of her curiosity to explore the industry and understand the medium. Since then she has worked with reputed television channels like the Zee Television Network, Colours, and has led the Star Plus’s Fiction Content Department. She has been acclaimed for running shows like Balika Vadhu, Jeevan Sathi and Suhani Si Ek Ladki.
This session was organized to help our students get a detailed understanding of how television as a medium has evolved over the years, changes in the structure of the content, and the programming pattern that has evolved along with.
She shared insight into how the explosion in the number of television channels over the years has depleted the monopoly model. This has triggered television channels to identify their core audience and then structure and cater niche content as per the preference of the loyal viewers. For shows to be relevant, it is extremely important for the channels to understand the audience segment and craft content that the core audience can strongly relate with.
Based on her experience, she strongly opined that the content consumption pattern is positively affected if the content catered is fresh, experimental and has a positive note to it. Talking in detail about the content for television shows, she mentioned that unlike films, where story runs the show, in television, characters rule the shows.
She shared snippets on technical parameters, like Research, Data and TRP that are effectively used by television channels to assess the performance of the shows. This has also led television channels to give immense importance to ‘Research’ as a tool, to be able to gather information on the type of content being consumed the most and further be able to cater relevant and preferred content type.
She also shared her experience as a Programming Professional for Television shows, wherein she mentioned that the role is both challenging and satisfying. One need to don multiple hats and be able to efficiently conceptualize shows, strategize time slot, manage marketing, promo & research department, while overall be able to interact and manage professionals from different departments.
She encouraged students to take up a career in Television only after assessing their love for the medium. As television as a medium cater to millions, it is extremely important for television professionals to be able to relate and cater to the demands of its viewers. On being asked about the attributes that she looks for in aspiring Television professionals, she said that aspirants must have a creative instinct coupled with strong communication skill, and most importantly should have extreme love & respect for the medium.
At the session, the students also raised their queries related to various aspects of the content structure for television shows, which Ms. Ghai answered by drawing examples from the type of content that are being currently aired on television, which made it even more relatable and easier for our students to understand.