The heat is on. The month of August would see Zee and Sony taking the war to STAR’s camp with slew of new programme initiatives. In the offing are a host of new interactive shows, daily soaps, serials and gameshows.
Zee plans to re-launch its prime channel by mid-August with a new-look and feel and a fresh line-up of programmes. The programme line-up includes programme based on popular mythological series Ramayanan and Mahabharata and an interactive serial in which the end would be based on audience reaction.
Few existing programmes to be retained includes Amanat, Koshish. ek Aashaa, Mehndi Tere Naam Ki, Antrakrshri and India’s Most Wanted.
Sony on its part is in the process strengthening its weekend programming. It has launched a weekly soap Khel on Sunday to be aired at prime-time 9 p.m. Efforts are also on to spurce-up existing week-end programmes including Govinda-hosted Jeeto Chaapar Phar Ke by roping in more celebrities and dance show Woogie Woogie.
A Raksha Bhandhan special with choreographer Farah Khan and brother Sajid is also in the offing. Big budget blockbuster movies over the weekend would continue to remain a major thrust for Sony.
STAR, too, on its part is in the process of strengthening its weekend programming. Though sitting pretty with around 40 of its programmes in the Top 50, it has launched three new programmes on Friday. This includes gameshow Khul Ja Sim Sim, Sonali Bendre-hosted dance show Kya Masti Kya Dhum and horror series Sssh… Koi Hai.
Till now three STAR Plus programmes – Big B-hosted gameshow Kaun Banega Crorepati and daily soaps Kyuki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki - have been the main drivers for the network.
Efforts are also on to strengthen existing programmes on STAR Plus. The network is in the process of bringing in more interactivity into Amitabh Bacchan-hosted game show Kaun Banega Crorepati.
More specials are also in the offing. KBC’s first anniversary episode, telecast on July 3, 2001, which had the cast of popular soap Kyuki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi participating in the gameshow, has recorded a high TRP of 15.9 as per TAM ratings for cable and satellite homes in nine cities across the country.
KBC will soon have a new set of sponsors which includes Parker Pens, Donear Suitings, Tata Indica, All Out, Kotak Mahindra, S Kumars, Godrej Soaps and ICICI Insurance.
Most media industry observers feel that the month of August would see the battle on the small screen enter a new phase with Zee and Sony coming out more aggressively. And STAR is well aware of the challenge.