For Indian television today, ‘K’ might be the lucky letter, but there is no doubt that ‘9’ is the happening digit. A look at trends and current ratings indicates that while primetime itself is redefined, its defining slot is still 9 to 10 p.m. With channels taking initiatives to boost the 10 p.m. band, planners believe that the number battle will soon get more aggressive.
When we look at the performance of mass entertainment channels closely, the dominance of 9 to 10 p.m. band stands out. A point to be taken into consideration here is that no other channel except Star has strong shows at 10.00 p.m.
If the average weekly TVRs in the Hindi speaking market for Sony Entertainment Television, Zee Television, Sahara Manoranjan and SAB TV in the 9 to 10 p.m. slot are considered for the target CS 4+, they are higher than the overall primetime figures or that of the following 10 to 11 p.m. slot. Star Plus is the only exception to the rule.
Where the average weekly TVR for the given period and target is 4.06 for Sony, the following hour records a mere 1.99 TVR. Zee’s 1.38 drops to 0.94 in the 10 to 11 p.m. band. Similar is the case with Sahara and SAB, where the former drops from a 0.63 to a 0.5 and the latter from 0.44 to 0.22.
Speaking more about the importance of this slot, Sandeep Tarkas, President, MPG observes, “Maximum advertising, promotion and communication activities are on this slot. Even if you look at the slot’s history, this is where KBC drove Star to its current stature. Channels place their key serials in this slot. Even in future, this is where movements can be expected.”
On what makes this slot stand apart, Tarkas explains, “The sheer convenience of the slot in a viewer’s daily routine. Even now, audiences are ready to experiment in this slot and that is why we saw the stir in Star’s figures when Jassi… came in the picture. Most brands would want to have their presence here.”
Amol Dighe, Investment Director, MindShare Fulcrum, adds, “The programming in this slot is innovative also. Star has its weeklies in place, reporting an increase again, and the other channels have their strongest programmes here. This is a reflection of the advantages that this slot offers.”
Star has encashed on the fact that viewers are in any case drawn to this time band. Where the channel records an average TVR of 9.6, in the 10 to 11 slot it increases to 10.12. Dighe explains, “With the weeklies, Star is taking advantage of the increased viewership. At the same time, there isn’t viewer fatigue, so the pass-along viewers are substantial and then it banks on programming driven ratings. The channel realised the need to keep the viewers beyond the slot and the content here has only helped.”
A realisation that has donned on other channels as well, especially Sony. With Sony’s Jassi… threatening to change the channel share equations, the only question is, what next? Perhaps the reason why Jassi… ceased to be an issue of concern for Star was that it was not backed by anything else.
Sony, however, has already slotted original programming to retain viewers 10 p.m. onwards with Optimystix’ Yeh Meri Life Hai. Its weekend programme, Devi too will have a twist and will be altered into an hour show.
“With changes in current programmes and the new serials coming in different channels, we can look forward to a lot of action. Sony is trying to expand its primetime and the fight for keeping the audience will become aggressive,” elucidates Tarkas. Will it make a difference to Star? “It would take a dig at Star, yes. There will be changes but what kind and for how long, are questions difficult to answer at this point,” says Tarkas.
Sahara too has introduced the daily Zameen… in its 10 p.m. slot. With Malini Iyer taking care of at least two days, the channel has more in the pipeline. March would see new programmes for Zee as well. Obviously, there is a lot more for the Indian viewers to choose from. The preparations for the new game, one might say, have begun.