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Diversity delivers: STAR and Zee happy with opening numbers of ‘Sai Baba’ and ‘Saath Phere

31-October-2005
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Diversity delivers: STAR and Zee happy with opening numbers of ‘Sai Baba’ and ‘Saath Phere

The Indian viewer seems to be enjoying the diversity available to him today. Whereas on one hand the spiritual show ‘Sai Baba’ on STAR Plus has given the channel a 4 plus in the Sunday 8.00 pm slot, Zee TV’s ‘Saath Phere’ has given the channel an increase in that slot. On the whole, it is quite a festive time for Hindi mass channels.

TAM Media Research shows that for C&S 4+ in the Hindi speaking market, ‘Sai Baba’ opened to a 3 plus and went on to give the channel a TRP of 4 in the following episode. “We were expecting this kind of opening numbers,” said Shailja Kejriwal, Senior Creative Director, STAR India. “It’s been a really long time that any religious show has come on-air and Sai Baba is not just any religious story. It’s essentially a story of a person who people have known and respect for his philosophies too. It’s the kind of show that will invite both religious and non-religious audiences.”

Kejriwal further explained that while most shows on TV are headed towards one extreme – of reality and format shows where people are peeping into other people’s lives -- it made sense for the channel to explore the other extreme. “It is a calculated experiment that has paid off, and the property only gets stronger from here. So we do expect it maintain these kinds of ratings.”

Kejriwal, however, doesn’t discount the fact that weekends are slots where channels do indulge in one-off activities. In that light, she said, “If something big is happening somewhere, the show might take a dip on those nights but otherwise it should hold its own.”

If Sai Baba has brought smiles to STAR, then Zee’s new dark girl has lifted the channel’s spirits as well. The show opened to a 2 plus and has been on a steady 1 plus since, barring the Fame Gurukul finale episode, where it took a beating.

Said Ashvini Yardi, Head, Programming, Zee TV, “The slot has grown and that is a good sign. These are good opening numbers and the show has a very strong story line, so it should grow more from here.”

The channel has experimented with the first episode of ‘Saath…’, with a single ad break. “It was an innovative idea we tried and it has worked too,” said Yardi. “We will see how we can use this in days to come.”

Coming in the 9.30 pm slot on Zee, ‘Saath…’ is facing good competition from other channels. On the whole, new shows haven’t left channels disappointed. The lead on to the festival week has been a good one but the usual worry is how many continue to keep smiling when the festivities have ended.

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