As media grows and competition heats up, the battle for consumer attention is getting tougher. This includes general entertainment channels (GEC), too, which are facing the heat with the genre seeing 40 launches between October and December 2005. Eikona PR Track takes a closer look to understand the growing importance channels place on public relations to support new launches.
As per Eikona PR Track, the PR measurement division of TAM, there are clear instances where PR has been used to ‘expose’ a TV programme to its target and that increasingly PR or word-of-mouth (WoM), especially during the pre-launch or launch phase, has worked for the launch and helps sail through a smooth post-launch phase as well.
The findings show that of the total 40 TV programmes launched on GEC, only 20 obtained print PR coverage. Of these, on the basis of the quantum of PR coverage, the top five programmes come under the microscope. These include ‘Saath Phere’ and ‘Hum Paanch’ on Zee TV, STAR Plus’ ‘Sai Baba’, ‘Indian Idol 2’ on Sony, and ‘Kittu… Sab Jaantii Hai’ on SaharaOne. Of these, the maximum Column Centimeters (CCM) eater was ‘Indian Idol 2’ with a share of 33 per cent.
‘Hum Paanch’ followed with a 23 per cent share, while SaharaOne has a 20 per cent share. Both ‘Sai Baba’ and ‘Saath Phere’ had 12 per cent share each. Correspondingly, ‘Idol’ opened to a 3.75, ‘Hum Paanch’, which launched the same day as ‘KBC 2’, delivered an opening number of 1.27, ‘Sai Baba’, 2.56. ‘Saath Phere’ generated a 1.92 and ‘Kituu…’ threw a 0.71.
Industry players are aware of the growing importance of PR. Deepak Segal, EVP, Content and Communication, STAR India, said, “PR as a component is important throughout the journey of a programme, but the most crucial role it plays is during the launch of a show. The audience need to be given more information on the show and advertising can’t do that for you.”
In addition to that, he felt that PR brought ‘credibility’ to the information. A point that SaharaOne’s COO, Purnendu Bose agreed with. “There is a certain authenticity that comes when a third party writes about a property and that plays an effective role in creative buzz around the show,” Bose added.
Zee TV, Marketing Head, Tarun Mehra, said, “PR is perhaps the most effective marketing tool, which can be used not just to create a positive story but simple buzz around a forthcoming property. In light of the fact that there are new shows launching by the dozens and competition is coming from other genre as well, you need all kinds of push for a show and PR helps deliver that.”
Adding more to this, Segal said, “Advertising is just to create awareness, PR is used to create interest around a show and going forward, it is used to help maintain or give further momentum to a show.”
“An ad is an ad,” said Bose, “but constant communication of facts and figures to the viewer is crucial. As the mediums to reach the viewer are increasing, PR is finding its footing better in the industry.” Mehra added, “What better way to substantiate this than the fact that media houses have understood the importance of PR and some have monetised that as well.”
The tool is still nascent in India as compared to the international markets, but research indicates that PR is an important part of the marketing plan. What a channel anyways gets maybe good, but the attempt to get a mention in the editorial space is vital.
This study of Eikona also showed that 83 per cent of the new launches were in the prime time slot. 50 per cent of these programmes were weeklies, 25 per cent, dailies, 17 per cent, bi-weeklies, and 8 per cent were weekenders. Drama and reality shows together made up 60 per cent of the programme genre. Of the remaining, 27 per cent belonged to comedy, 9 per cent, game shows, and horror and mythology shared 2 per cent each.
As is known, Eikona PR Track specialises in monitoring and analysing PR and media coverage for advertisers across TV, print (newspapers and magazines), the Internet and trade journals.