It is stated that weekdays and weekends lure different sets of audiences on television. A differentiation in programming is created for the same on Hindi mass entertainment channels. Is this differentiated programming getting the channel audiences that are not present on the channel otherwise? And, which way do media planners and audiences swing on weekends?
To begin with, the comparisons we are drawing here are purely based on TAM data. Maybe a psychographic analysis or a further breakdown of TRPs would throw very different information. However, an analysis on males, females and children, SEC A, B and C shows some interesting figures.
Let us look at 4-14, SEC ABC, Hindi speaking markets. If we look at weekdays (Monday to Thursday), TRPs for the whole day here are 4.37 and for prime time 16.32. Channel share increases from 45.12% in the day to 62.89% in the prime time.
And now the weekends (Friday, Saturday Sunday): The whole day ratings are 2.94, which rise to 9.86 in the prime time. Interesting thing to note here is a fall in the channel share vis-à-vis the weekdays, which clearly indicates that though children are watching lesser TV on weekends – it is not all that less. Fall, by and large occurs in the share of mass entertainment channels – they fall to 30.22% for the whole day and 44.26% for prime time.
Second set of audience under consideration is males. First, a look at 15+ category; here weekday ratings are 3.35 and 14.08 for whole day and prime time with channel shares of 34.58% and 54.43% respectively. On weekends TVRs are 2.09 and 7.32 for the two-day parts. Channel shares here are 21.45% and 32.94%. Again, thing to be noted is fall in channel share of mass entertainment channels.
Now a look at 25+ male: Here the TRPs are at 3.42 and 14.64 for the weekdays – whole day and prime time. On weekend the same are at 2.08 and 7.43 respectively. In both the day parts there is a fall in channel share of mass entertainment channels on weekends – through the day it falls from 35.59% to 21.42% and in the prime time it falls from 55.56% to 33.22%.
And, now the ladies. First 15+ section. Whole day rating falls from 5.18 on weekdays to 2.69 on weekends – also indicated is a fall in channel share from 45.67% to 26.63%. During the prime time, ratings go down from 19.91 to 9.57 and channel share from 62.93% to 38.97%.
If we look at 25+ women, it substantiates the fact even further that there is indeed weekend viewership – but large chunk of it shifts away from mass entertainment channels: Whole day TRPs go down from 5.42 to 2.66, and channel share from 45.1% to 26.27%. In the prime time, ratings go down from 19.84 to 9.52 and shares from 61.95% to 38.44%.
Kunal Jamyuar, Business Director, Insight, attributes this fall to weak programming above anything else. “We can attribute fall in the channel share of mass entertainment channels to the simple fact that long running sagas do not work well on weekends. You need to look at short programmes instead of three-hour long events. Unfortunately though the channels have a few half-an-hour capsules, they repeat it so many times that audiences become almost non existent,” he says.
Another factor is that more men have remotes in their hands on weekends than women — a major departure from weekdays. There is more fragmentation and zapping. In TV, more specifically, do mass entertainment channels prove to be an effective medium to reach a brand message to consumers over the weekends? Divya Radhakrishnan, Head – Tata AoR, Media Edge, believes that it would vary not only from channel to channel but also audience to audience, “Of course, if the mass entertainment channels deliver on the weekends, why would one not use them? If I am looking for male target audience and a programme over the weekend has a male skew, I would definitely look at it. But if the programme is delivering very low ratings as it is, it would not really be able to deliver the reach I desire in the male audience.”
Jamyuar, meanwhile, believes that special interest and niche channels have a highly involved viewership on weekends. Says he, “One of the reasons for the same is that more men control remote on weekends than on weekdays.”
Manjari Kamath, General Manager, Maxus, Mumbai, tends to agree, “Whether or not you want to advertise your brand on weekends depends on brand objectives, media objectives and scheduling. On weekends viewership is largely fragmented. Niche channels like HBO, Star Movies and even Hindi movie channels have appointment viewing on weekends, and hence they become important from a media planners’ perspective. More so in the case of upper legions of male audiences.”
Media experts agree that whether or not you are on a mass entertainment channel on weekends depends on the media objectives. States Radhakrishnan, “If it is GRPs driven media planning – you would not be much worried where your slot is appearing because you are as it is paying on the basis of cost-per-rating point. However, when it comes to qualitative factors, niche channels though their numbers are a fraction of mass entertainment channels become important and a skew in the spots toward niche channels might be noticed.”
Do the media experts think that the differentiated programming being hyped by mass entertainment channels is helping in luring the desired audience? States Kamath, “If you are talking about differentiated programming on the channels during weekends, I feel that only mass channel getting good ratings on weekends is Star Plus. Jassi is the channel driver for Sony and for Zee, Thursday Premier is the one attracting more viewers.”
Another issue brought to the fore is that the ratio between break TRPs and programme TRPS is much higher as there is a lot of channel flirtation taking place and there is very less of involved appointment viewing. “Average time spent watching television goes considerably up and more channels are sampled. A major fall out of the same can be that commercial break TRPs in proportion to weekdays would be much lower as there is continuous surfing.”
While mass entertainment channels look pretty vulnerable on weekend viewing, the fall in the total TVRs, vis-à-vis the weekdays is not that shattering. Mass entertainment channels are increasingly realising that three days of weekend need to be really pepped up to get best TVRs and channel shares. Right now a lot of energy is being channelised in that direction. Will the new strategies stop the viewers from moving to other channels on weekdays is a difficult one to speculate.