Laughter is the best medicine!
Comedy has emerged as the new flavour of Tamil television. Two new round-the-clock comedy channels, Aditya and Siripoli were launched this month. In India, there are no other channels dedicated exclusively to humour, which is turning out to be big business in Tamil Nadu.
To get higher TRP ratings, most of the general entertainment channels (GEC), including music channels, have switched over to airing comedy clips from Tamil films between 9.30 pm and 11 pm during the last one year.
A spokesperson of a leading media buying agency says, “All those channels which replaced daily soaps with comedy clips have registered a remarkable rise in TRPs. Then came a 24-hour comedy channel. Others saw the potential and this month alone, two new comedy channels have been launched. Now, all the other networks will also have a separate comedy channel as part of their bouquet.”
Says Sujit Kumar, Director of Social Media India Ltd (SMIL), who are marketing Siripoli, “Humour has always interested Tamil viewers, and we saw the potential for a full-fledged comedy channel and launched
it. The programming includes comedy film clips, comedy songs, candid camera and stand up comedy shows. The sole aim of the programme is to provide laughter and fun to millions of viewers across the state.”
According to a source close to a leading television production company, “All the women-oriented daily soaps have shown a decline in viewership. Now, channel programmers are asking us to make comedy sitcoms with lesser known film comedians and try out something new.”
But as per advertising agency sources, what sells best is Tamil film comedy clips of Vadivel, Vivekh, Senthil and Goundamani, Nagesh and the golden oldies — N S Krishnan, Thangavelu, M R Radha and Thengai Sreenivasan.
Also, the comedy scenes of Kamal Haasan (Michael Madana Kamarajan, Sathi Leelavathi, Tenali), Rajinikanth and Vijay are extremely popular among young viewers.
There has been an unprecedented boom in comedy shows on Tamil television and most of the anchors hosting these programmes have themselves turned into comedy stars in Tamil films. In the last two years alone, nearly 20 people who were hosting comedy shows have graduated into comedians on the big screen.
The big two — Vadivel and Vivekh — are said to be doling out dates per day (rumoured to be charging Rs five to seven lakh per day) making them India’s highest paid daily wage earners! There are also other comedians who have moved from comedy shows to cinema and are charging Rs 1 lakh per day.
Kollywood producers are laughing all the way to the bank, as two new comedy channels would mean a rise in the price paid to them for the television rights of their films. This is because the channels are in a mad race to procure more comedy content. Says leading comedian Vivekh, “The launch of two channels exclusively for comedy augurs well for the industry. Today, our lifestyles have become so stressful, that laughter has become a therapy. And in these days of economic recession and meltdown, after a hard day’s work, comedy provides the much needed outlet for people to unwind.”