A number of channels have been launched this year bringing in more competition as well as creating segmentation of the audiences. Whether from new players or existing broadcasters a lot of networks still see the space and the need for segmentation in the market as a way forward to cater to a wide range of audiences. Also with digitization and the ad cap many in the industry see the launch of new channels as a way to expand.
New channels on Indian TV screens in 2014
In the Hindi GEC space there were three new channels that made it into television screens in 2014. This included Zindagi, Sony Pal and Epic Channel. Zindagi was the latest offering from the Zee Enterprises Entertainment Ltd. (ZEEL) stable this year and was launched on June 23, 2014. The second GEC channel of the network is positioned as a premium Hindi entertainment channel (SEC A & B) gave viewers in India a glimpse of soaps from across the border in Pakistan. Apart from the Pakistani content on the channel it plans to show shows from around the world such as countries like Egypt, Latin America and Middle East in the following year. Unlike soaps in India which are infinite in the number of episodes, this channel has many shows which are finite. The channel has just about completed half a year since its inception.
Multi Screen Media (MSM) on the other hand had launched its third Hindi GEC with a view to primarily target the women audience in SEC B, C, D and E areas in India. This was since the network’s flagship channel Sony Entertainment Television (SET) and SAB TV were more male inclined. Sony Pal was launched on September 1, 2014 with the tagline ‘Yeh Pal Hamara Hai’ and started off with 7 new shows which had mainly fiction shows and also included 1 game show and 1 chat show with actress Juhi Chawla.
Despite numerous delays in the launch (a delay of more than a year), Epic Channel finally got its license from MIB and came onto television screens on November 19, 2014 (MIB signals end of Epic wait, Epic TV announces November 19 launch, unveils plans). Positioned as a segmented Hindi entertainment channel, this channel was created with the idea to offer viewers an alternative to the regular content such as soaps on other Hindi GECs. The content on the channel is mainly focused at showcasing the history of India whether in their fiction shows or non-fiction shows. Epic launched with 13 to 15 new shows which are finite in nature and come in the season format, apart from movies showcased on the weekend.
The Hindi GEC space also had another new channel, Investigation Discovery (ID), was launched by Discovery network in August this year along with HD variants of TLC HD World and Animal Planet HD World. This channel could be placed in the niche Hindi entertainment space. The channel which is a first Hindi channel dedicated to offering true stories of mystery, crime and suspense. The programs which are created by internationally are then offered to the Hindi speaking audiences.
In the Hindi movies space Sony Max 2 was launched by MSM in June this year. With movies from the 1970’s to the mid late 1990’s being showcased, the channel is targeted towards an audience above the age of 25 years. The channel has a vast library of more than 250 movies and is aimed at giving an audience their daily dose of the classics of Indian cinema.
In the music channel space MTV collaborated with PepsiCo to launch the Indie music and sub-culture channel Pepsi MTV Indies on February 5, 2014. The channel focuses on independent music, arts and comedy shows.
On the music channel space, Disney India announced the launch of new channel Bindass Play on October 1, 2014. The new channel which replaced UTV Stars was targeted towards the age group of 15 – 24 year olds with a love for music.
How did the new channels perform in their launch year?
While many of these channels have taken their first few steps along a long road, some have developed faster than the others. In the Hindi GEC space, Zindagi has done well since the start as it managed to even overtake a 14 year old channel like Sahara One. According to data from TAM subscribers the channel gathered 27 million GVTs in week 28 (third week of the channel) and went on to 29 million GVTs a week later. The current ratings stand at 32 million GVTs in week 51 down from 33 million GVTs in week 50. The channel has made a slow but continual rise in the ratings chart. Though Zindagi has been growing it has been at a slow pace. This can be accepted since the audience they are targeting is much smaller in comparison to other Hindi GECs in its segment.
Sony Pal on the other hand had a slow start at the beginning and opened its account with 11 million GVTs in week 36. However, its ratings have grown since and has given tough competition to Zindagi. Currently, in week 51 the channel has slipped to 25 million GVTs from 31 million GVTs in week 50. Sony Pal on the other hand has not had the best of starts and continues to trail. According to the target audience and the space, the channel could have performed much better in terms of ratings.
Epic Channel being in the niche space has had a slow start with 1.24 million GVTs in week 47 (this is due to only a half the week since its inception) and then moving up to 2.93 million GVTs in week 48. The ratings have slowly climbed since then, although in week 51 currently it has declined a little to 4.53 million GVTs from 5.68 million GVTs in week 50. Being the niche space and targeting a select audience group the channel is not in any way competing with other Hindi GECs . However, the channel will have to up the ante in the following year to increase its ratings as this will affect in terms of advertising.
Sony Max 2 has performed well since its launch and in a month since its launch managed to 37,324 GVTs in week 29 as compared with 32,613 GVTs in week 28. The channel has performed considerably well since then and had climbed up the ratings chart. Currently in week 51 the channel’s ratings are 52,046 GVTs which is higher than Zee Classic at 49,105 GVTs and other some other movie channels in its genre. The channel has performed well since the start and having overtaken some of the other older channels in its genre has showed much more about the channels strength.
Other new channels such as ID, Pepsi MTV Indies and Bindass Play too have grown significantly since their launch.
While some channels such as Zindagi and Sony Max 2 have achieved a lot in a short time, there are other channels that definitely need to step up their game.