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     Volume 5 Issue 109 | August 25, 2006 |

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Behind the Mirror

Rafi Hossain

Holding the position of Deputy Programme Manager of a TV channel when one is in one's late twenties is not usual in a society where experience and seniority are given priority over the new and innovative; it becomes more challenging if that channel is a brand new one. Aditi Sengupta, Deputy Programme Manager of Channel 1, has taken the challenge and has already confirmed her talent in this field.

DS: How are you enjoying your present work as the Deputy Programme Manager of a TV channel?
A: Well... this is a tough job and I am grateful to Channel 1 for giving me the opportunity. This is a new channel so the scope for work is enormous.

DS: We have noticed that usually the TV channels prefer senior and experienced people for such posts. So how do feel holding this position at your age?
A: As an individual I love challenges. Facing a challenge gives me strength.

This is of course a great opportunity for me. And I believe that young people can come up with fresh ideas, which has become a necessity for the industry. But I never forget the fact that there is no alternative for experience. And I am learning everyday.

DS: Please describe your experience as a woman and a boss.
A: Regarding that I must say I am lucky to work in such a great environment. I have not faced the usual type of discrimination here or places I have worked so far. And my experience has taught me how to handle people. Media is all about people and communication, so you have to know how to deal with people, how to communicate with them.

DS: Now there are so many TV channels. So how do you think Channel 1 is going to make its mark?
A: This is a small country. And it is true that we are watching almost the same performers in every channel. And that is likely to lead to boredom for the viewers.

That's why Channel 1 has taken a totally different approach. For example our viewers are watching “Chobial Utshob”: a series of tele-films of young and promising makers under the banner of Mustafa Sarwar Faruki. And this is already a success. Now our viewers have an opportunity to taste something really fresh.

DS: So do you think about the position of Channel 1 is strong in this market of competition?
A: We are new. And naturally maturity will come with time. Now there are a number of channels in the country and too many productions (talk shows, tele-films, musical programmes). Our only option here is to create the space for new comers and that is difficult and challenging. The youngsters have fresh energy. If we can blend this force with the people of experience, good things are bound to come out. Such as Mr. Barkatullah who is securing one of the most important posts of the channel, he is experienced and I am quite young compared to him.

DS: What's the situation considering Channel 1's programme designing and planning ... what should be aired, when...etc.?
A: In this regard we need to know the views of the critics, viewers and newspapers. We definitely need feedback, positive and negative, and I believe that is necessary for our growth.

DS: Indian channels are so popular these days, can our channels hold the attention of the viewers?
A: I think that's the challenge for all the TV channels of the country. We want the viewers to get out of that and watch local channels. And Channel 1 is relentlessly working for that.

DS: But the market is small. New channels have come but the amount of money from advertisements has not increased which is the main source of fund. So how do these channels survive?
A: Well...people who are running these channels must have a plan. But what I understand is you can never expect good work if there is no competition. And the advertisement money, of course, will go to those who are able to make good productions that can be commercially successful as well.

DS: Is there any change you can see regarding our viewers?
A: This is a difficult time. We are competing nationally and internationally. When you talk about TV channels everything is just a switch away. And viewers are intelligent, you cannot fool them. They watch good programmes every day. So, we have to make good programes and I strongly believe that the newspapers have a role to play by informing the viewers about the good programmes shown on local channels.

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