Ruchir Joshi, head, content, FoodFood, is confident that his channel has got it what it takes to consolidate its
INTERVIEWED BY SHAFQUAT ALI
How does FoodFood compare with other food channels in India? And what, according to you, are your channel’s biggest strengths?
We believe that, when it comes to food content, our benchmarks are from around the world. Viewers follow us because we are up there with the best when it comes to trusting the authenticity of our content, thanks to the deep understanding of food we bring to every aspect of programming. And mind you, that’s not an easy task. Food is such a genre where everyone in the audience has an opinion, they want familiarity and they also want to know new things.
What’s your vision for your channel in terms of technology?
I think these are super exciting times in terms of options available from a technology stand point for a programmer. From smartphones that are shooting on 4K resolution to professional equipment that is becoming cheaper and more user friendly and postproduction software that allow even an amateur to make their content look a million dollars, we are spoilt for choices. But that’s the key too: choosing the right equipment for your content. We are exploring this new-age production style with curiosity and with an eye to produce the highest quality content with economical budgets.
Besides this, going HD with our broadcast is obviously something we are aiming for in the near future.
You have a wonderful team of chefs as well as production executives. How did you earn their commitment?
We recognise that our real wealth is the chefs who host the various shows on the channel. They are the reason why viewers connect with us. From the beginning, the mix was of experienced and fresh talent that we groomed under the guidance of Chef Sanjeev Kapoor. Over the years, from a vanilla tutorial style of presentation we have evolved to a more personal take on cooking that reflects the individual personality of each chef. Every chef has been given shows that take their own evolution forward. The key in this is to understand that a chef on camera has to move beyond demonstrating cooking to also tell stories, create emotion, build drama and find that personal connect with the viewer which builds trust. Our chefs value our effort in helping them find their individual voice and that is what has kept our core group strongly together.
When it comes to the production and programming team, your expectations are apparently been very high…
Yes, we expect our team to deeply understand the subject they are making content about and always be curious to learn more. Food is not an easy subject to make content about. Unlike our global counterparts, we do not have lavish budgets at our disposal. As such, we have to depend on innovation to get the best out of every product we create and that is only possible if the research and planning is methodical. I think it’s this collective hunger for constantly doing something new that keeps the team motivated and committed. What, according to you, are the growth drivers for the food and lifestyle segment? The rise of the middle and upper middle class in India has given a massive boost to the consumer brands. With extra disposable income, the aspirations of the people have also changed. Everyone desires products and experiences that will enhance their lifestyle. The Indian food and grocery market is estimated to touch $482 billion by 2020. TV obviously drives these lifestyle choices and so, automatically, the consumer and food brands are ready to park more money in this segment. This trend will only rise in years to come and so this is a great time to be creating and broadcasting food and lifestyle content.
Do you foresee a challenge from international channels that are planning to enter India?
The fact that international channels like Food Network are coming to India is great news as it will boost the food and lifestyle segment and make it stronger. As the segment will grow bigger, there will be space for everybody. We have a very focused identity and we understand the Indian palette. And the trust we have built with the audience over years will only grow.