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Discovery ups local content ante; partners Hrithik Roshan for show on heroes

MUMBAI: To make a bigger push on the
local content front, infotainment
broadcaster Discovery has tied up with
Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan for a
show that celebrates heroes who
overcame obstacles and adversity to
achieve goals.
The nine-part series ‘HRX Heroes
with Hrithik Roshan’ will air from
Monday to Tuesday at 9 pm from 2
November. The episodes will repeat on
weekends at 8 pm.

One of the nine heroes featured is
Harshini Kanhekar. Her dream of
wearing a uniform took her to a Fire
Service College in Nagpur. This was an
all-male college, but she was not
prepared to hear that a girl cannot do
this. She became India’s first female
fire engineer. Another episode is
about Kalpana Saroj who became an
entrepreneur and along the way
worked through obstacles like
poverty, ill treatment and marriage at
an early age.
Discovery South Asia executive VP, GM
South Asia Rahul Johri noted that the
channel’s aim is to entertain, inform
and enrich the viewing experience.
“Today, we have 11 networks and
reach over 100 million viewers a
week. The rural ratings have been
released by BARC and Discovery has
been a big gainer. This is not a
surprise. We reach every nook and
corner of the country. ‘HRX Heroes
with Hrithik Roshan’ is an
outstanding series that salutes the
undying spirit of real-life heroes. I
am confident that Hrithik’s popularity
will motivate millions to discover the
hero in them.”

Distribution: He said that Discovery
has set up its own distribution team
consisting of 45 people in 17
locations. They are led by Vijay
Rajput. The logic for splitting up with
MSM was that if one cannot aggregate
anymore then there was no reason for
the JV. “Hence, we created our own
infrastructure. 45 guys joined us who
are really the best in class. We have
one of the strongest teams on the
ground and are well positioned. We
ourselves are a major network. We
have confidence in our product. ”
He maintained that Discovery’s
channels have enough mass appeal to
be able to deliver on the distribution
front. He said that deals with
operators are renewed periodically.
When asked if Discovery would look at
RIO a la Star, he said that deals are
done on a case-to-case basis
depending on the operator and region.
BARC: Since Discovery has benefited
from the rural ratings, will the
broadcaster look at increasing ad
rates? “The ratings have just come
out. Let me go through it,” said

The Bollywood connect: Discovery has
also tied up with Shah Rukh Khan and
John Abraham in the past. Johri said
that such decisions are based on the
story and on the requirement of the
show. “If it is the requirement of the
show, it will happen. It works to
increase the awareness of a show. It
works in this genre where you can
take stories and make them more
compelling. Hrithik has done a great
The hope is that there will more
seasons of this show. “It depends on
Discovery’s research team. They come
up with various stories. If they come
up with more compelling stories that
can be converted for the television
screen, then why not?”
Roshan said that he wanted to spread
the belief that it is possible to look
adversity in the face and emerge
victorious by overcoming it. He feels
that Discovery is the ideal platform to
spread the message of courage and
determination. For him, the show is
targeted at people who are on the
verge of giving up and for people who
are in need of inspiration. “Everybody
wants to be a hero. I also wanted to
be a hero when I was young. But to be
a true hero is something else. The
human being has been a survivor.

“A hero is an inner core ingredient. In
the face of adversity, impossibility we
lose belief in that core. We need a
symbol to remind us that we can be
strong and overcome. We need a
symbol, to empower, enable us to
move forward. The nine people on the
show will inspire people to find their
own hero.”
He added that he was deeply touched
by the stories. “When we watch news
channels, the information focuses on
horror, chaos and negativity. I don’t
want the youth to be moulded by fear.
I want to balance this out by
bombarding them with people who have
done the impossible.”

Discovery ups local content ante; partners Hrithik Roshan for show on heroes

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