exchange4media Research Team
People were there to cheer up the local favourite and advertisers were there to catch them ''early''. Yes literally, despite the fact that Lagaan lost the final race, Star Movies screened a hit on 25th March. Not the movie but the biggest and most glamorous show on earth; The 74th Annual Academy Awards.
The tremendous hype created around Lagaan and its chances of winning the awards woke audience up early and Star movies in the process got what it wanted - more eyeballs. The channel had the exclusive rights for the telecast but others weren''t far behind. Just about every channel worth its name jumped on to the bandwagon. But, ultimately, having the live rights surely helped Star if the numbers are an indication. At 6:30 in the morning when the telecast started people were up watching the show. For a combined 9 city average Star Movies got a healthy 2.1 % TVRs (TG 15-34/MF/C&S) with Calcutta viewers being most enthusiastic delivering a record 5% +. The show was telecast twice, Live in the morning and the repeat telecast in the evening. Lagaan''s failure certainly had an impact on the evening viewing as the ratings dipped. Chart below shows the figures.
Channel shares too tell a similar story. During the Live telecast the five English movie channels put together had a channel share of 23.4%. 93% of this i.e. 21.8% was Star Movies. Now compare this figure to the previous week. Star Movies had TVRs of 0.03% and channel share of 0.06% on the previous Monday during the same time band. Oscars increased the ratings by a whopping 70 times.
Oscar Telecast Ratings - Comparison between Live telecast and repeat
Lets look at the viewership numbers for Oscars for the last year. Sans the hype and hoopla, Oscars were screened in 2001 as well. But the show got a measly 0.08% TVRs for the same 9 cities. Compare that with this year''s 2.1% and you can see the gain, all courtesy Lagaan and Star Movie''s aggressive marketing of the show.
If viewers were there how can the advertisers be left behind? Compared to the last year when the Live telecast had around 1,400 Seconds of advertising this year Star Movies got close to 2,500 Secs. Doesn''t need to be a genius guess that apart from the increased ad secondage, Star would have got better rates as well riding the Lagaan wave.
Apart from the Live screening Star and competitor HBO had a whole Oscar movies screening month preceding the event. This is where we see another interesting effect of Lagaan and Star Movie''s having right to the live event. HBO screened all movies at the 9:30 pm slot during March, where as Star Oscar movies were slotted at the 11:30 pm slot. One would expect that by virtue of being during the Prime Time HBO would get better ratings as compared to Star. But the ratings show that HBO couldn''t convert that time slot advantage into more eyeballs. For the month of March the 9:30 - 11:30 pm slot saw HBO getting average TVRs of 0.14% as compared to Star''s 0.17%. The trend was similar in the 11:30 pm - 1:30 am band which saw ratings of 0.13% and 0.17% for HBO and Star respectively.