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Cracking the 8PM code

21-November-2012
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Cracking the 8PM code

The 8PM weekday time slot in the Hindi general entertainment space has always been deemed controversial or rather difficult in nature as it has never been easy to crack for broadcasters. Though the 9PM slot has observed a loyal set of audience, the 8PM time slot has continued to pose a challenge for channels.

Currently the 8PM time slot is ruled by ‘Balika vadhu’ of Colors. While Star Plus’ fiction show ‘Iss pyaar ko kya naam doon’ also observes a loyal audience base, it is not a big threat to ‘Balika vadhu’. Also, Zee TV’s new show ‘Rab se sohna isshq’ hasn’t managed to do extremely well as far as ratings are concerned.

Sony Entertainment Television is all set to launch its new fiction daily show ‘Anaamika’ on the 8PM slot, with its existing show ‘Byaah hamari bahu ka’ to go off air soon. This will probably intensify competition between the leading Hindi GE channels.

This brings us to the key question – why is it difficult for broadcasters to crack the 8PM code?

According to Anil Cheriyedath, Business Director, Maxus, ‘Balika vadhu’ has been one of the longer standing fiction shows, delivering a strong point for Colors. This has become one of the biggest challenges for other broadcasters. The show has also established a loyal viewer base and has a good fan following.

“Also, what works for the channel are the shows after ‘Balika Vadhu’ which are also doing quite well, since the programming line-up after or prior to a show helps build up time slot significantly,” added Cheriyedath.

Another core challenge that broadcasters are facing today is coming up with a fiction show that could garner attention from the entire family – something Colors has got right with its show ‘Balika vadhu’, while the Star Plus show ‘Iss pyaar ko kya naam doon’ basically targets the younger audience group.

According to Sushma Jhaveri, COO, Madison Media Communications, the 8PM time slot has never been so strong for any one channel before ‘Balika vadhu’. Even when ‘Balika vadhu’ had become a bit weak, no one could make the most of it.

What is the magic mantra?
Cheriyedath shared that the only way to capture the time slot is to do something different in terms of programming content. Respective channels should invest time and money to bring something new to the table every time. This would lead to an increase in the audience’s curiosity and hence, garner more eyeballs. Experimentation is the key.

“According to my understanding from the promos, Anaamika is a show pertaining to the supernatural genre. The performance of the show would definitely depend on how the channel treats the show and how the content and the storyline is taken forward in days to come. Sony earlier had ‘Aahat’ and hence, has an understanding of this particular genre. So the general expectations from the show would be on the higher side,” added Cheriyedath.

Jhaveri also believes that channels today should continue experimenting with varied content. This will gradually lead to a show clicking with the target audience base. He further said that launch of ‘Anaamika’ might lead to sampling but only the content will decide whether viewers would want to change their current viewing habit.

Introduction of new shows, refreshed content and experimentation with new genres can help broadcasters grab a larger pie of the 8PM time slot. One can safely say that this time slot is ready for a makeover.

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