Sanjeev Kapoor talks about his new show

How we wish more of our channel heads were as honest as Sanjeev Kapoor of FoodFood channel (India’s premier 24×7 food and lifestyle channel). Mr Kapoor met the media recently, at the launch of their new show, VEEBA Cook-Off, at the channel office.

“The objective of the 11-episode series is to find the best chefs for India’s hotel and restaurant industry. The contestants, who will change every episode, will have to beat their peers in an extremely tough competition, by sheer creativity, skills and a determination that seriously pushes them to their culinary limits. The winner will be selected on the basis of talent, techniques and taste,” reads the press release.

We had a quick chat on the philosophy of FoodFood with Mr.Kapoor, who is the face of Indian TV cooking, starting with his famous Zee TV show, Khana Khazana. He was also part of MasterChef India.

“Like other small channels, we too don’t have the budgets to host five-star-hotel pressers, so I’d rather save the moolah, using it to further increase the quality of our on-air products, which are anyways top class.”

“The biggest problem with our TV industry is lack of specialization. Other channels offer our genre content only in terms of information and entertainment. Being an integral part of the food chain, we go beyond offering expertise. Our FoodFood awards are one such endeavor to promote excellence in our industry.”

“We also plan to move from the traditional B2C (Business to Consumer) format to B2B (Business to Business) format; and allying with future chefs is a part of that long-term process. Internationally, B2B is big, which is not the case in India. So, once the desi market matures, we have a huge growth potential.”

Indeed, wise thought!!!

“It is quite sad, that in India, most advertisers don’t know the purchasing power of their end viewers; agencies just quote numbers. Having done our in-house research, we have been able to break through the clutter, directly tapping into relevant households (read, niche food-lovers), thereby offering better value for bucks for our sponsors and partners.”

Sanjeev was not very patronizing towards other food reality show competitions. “Let’s face it. They are more aspirational than anything else, as most contestants are home cooks. Tell me which such format winner has really gone on to make a name for himself/herself; while our Maha Challenge winner, Saransh Goila has gone to start his own butter chicken franchise.”

“Also, there is no consistency in shows like MasterChef. This format does not run every season. Channels only see numbers, so if song-and-dance routines rate better, it is easily replaced.”

Looking ahead, seeing the power of digital, Sanjeev sees great convergence. “We already charge a premium for our digital content.”

In closing, we asked whether the format of VeebaCook-Off–having one winner every telecast day– was a risk, given the fact that regularly seeing the same lot creates familiarity and empathy, he replied, “Well, such notions don’t hold water, for the most popular international cookery competition is also in the same format. Plus, being a smaller set-up, we can afford to go against the tide, unlike the biggies.”

We wish him luck and success.

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