The Hindi general entertainment channels (GEC) genre has seen STAR Plus reign for over six years, and a very clear slide in the last two years. The STAR slide has continued and one of the areas where its effect is the most accentuated, and hence a concern for the channel, is in the primetime time bands.
In 2007, the first 12 weeks see a very wide gap between STAR Plus and the second seed in Hindi GEC, Zee TV. The credit could be given to KBC–SRK and to the top three shows on STAR Plus – ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’, ‘Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki’ and ‘Kasautii Zindagi Kay’. For a long time, these shows have occupied the top three positions on Hindi GEC. However, the scene now has changed.
Where ‘Kyunki…’ and ‘Kahaani…’ are still managing some of the best numbers that any show can deliver on television today, ‘Kasautii…’ has clearly slipped. Some of STAR Plus’ own shows like ‘Prithviraj Chauhan’ take the third slot for the channel, but ‘Saath Phere’, ‘Kasamh Se’ and ‘SaReGaMaPa Challenge’ are competing very closely with STAR for a slot in the top 50.
Even in the case of ‘Kahaani…’, where on a broader picture, the show still beats its rivals, there already are instances where Zee TV’s ‘Maayka’ beats ‘Kahaani…’. STAR Voice of India and occasional instances like STAR Parivaar do bring in the numbers for the channel, but right now they are only enough to keep STAR Plus still in its numero uno slot.
Shows like ‘Indian Idol’ has allowed Sony Entertainment Television to come close to Zee TV on some occasions, otherwise Sony has some distance to cover with Zee TV and the channel sure would be hoping that new initiatives like ‘Khwahish’ would do the trick.
Zee TV is happy with the way things are moving and Zee TV’s Ashish Kaul believes that it is only a matter of time before Zee TV beats STAR Plus on more time bands.
Kaul said, “There are various things that are working for Zee TV as a channel and efforts that have gone in the last two years that are now paying off for the channel. Even when we were on a lower performance position, we have always tried to tell different stories and do innovations on the channel. What is the last innovation that STAR Plus has done? I think for a long time they have just bet on the same shows, and everything has a life --- it will end some day.”
Meanwhile, STAR officials like Ajay Vidyasagar have reasserted faith in the channel in its new age, with new leaders and new teams in functions like programming and have been quoted on saying that the whole new machinery at STAR will make the difference for the channel.