In a bid to retain the weekday primetime audience on weekends as well, GECs have been sprucing up their Saturday primetime offerings, which range from reruns and reality shows to soaps and mythological serials. While media planners feel this is a good move for the channels, it remains to be seen whether they catch the viewers’ eyes.
After running back to back daily soaps on weekends, GECs have been trying to retain that set of audience by showing reruns of its popular shows or air day long marathon of all the episodes that have been telecast during the week. Some GECs even telecast award shows and Hindi movies to connect with a larger audience base.
For example, on April 3, Star Plus had telecast the Hindi film ‘De Dana Dhan’ at 9 pm, which got them a rating of 3.97 TVR (C&S, 4+, HSM). The subsequent Saturdays saw a repeat of their popular shows – ‘Bidayi’ was telecast on April 10 at 8 pm (3.48 TVR, C&S, 4+, HSM), while ‘Behenein’ was telecast on April 17 at 8 pm (2.6 TVR, C&S, 4+, HSM). In this case, the movie (which is relatively new) has delivered better ratings than the repeat of other popular shows.
Sony, on the other hand, airs new episodes of ‘Lift Kara De’ at 8 pm every Saturday. However, in the last four weeks the show has not managed to cross even a TVR of 1. The last episode of the show was telecast last Saturday.
As of now, Colors airs repeats of its shows such as ‘Balika Vadhu’, ‘Uttaran’ and ‘Laagi Tujhse Lagan’ in this time band. While these shows manage to get some ratings for the channel, the more popular weekend programming, such as awards or a new Hindi film, is telecast on Sunday.
PM Balakrishna, Vice-President, Allied Media, noted that this was a good time band as it commanded a good viewership base in metros and Hindi Speaking Markets (HSM), which were the main viewers for a GEC. He added, “There is potential in this time band as there is already a loyal audience base. This time slot can be tapped into and what matters is that the channel should package the shows in such a way that will appeal to this audience.”
Zee TV is fortifying this time band with a new show, ‘Keshav Pandit’, which will be telecast on Saturdays at 8.30 pm. The hour-long show will have repeats spanning across Fridays and Sundays. ‘Keshav Pandit’ debuted on May 15, 2010. Prior to that, the channel had repeats of its popular weekday programmes such as ‘Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo’, ‘Jhansi Ki Rani’ and ‘Pavitra Rishta’ over the past few weeks. Out of these shows, ‘Jhansi Ki Rani’ emerged to be the most popular show as its ratings have crossed 3 TVR (C&S, 4+, HSM).
Imagine TV’s mythological serial ‘Mahima Shani Devi Ki’, which is aired on Saturdays at 8 pm, has managed to get an average of 1 TVR in the past four weeks.
Shailesh Velandy, Vice-President, Mudra Radar, observed, “This time band has a substantial audience base and hence, the channel can use this time slot to showcase original programming as well. Having original or repeat programming in this time slot is purely a business decision that the channel has to take. So, if the channel can make investments in a new show, then it might have original programming in that time slot.”
However, he added, this slot enjoyed a huge audience base in mini metros and channels could take advantage of that.
Meanwhile, it is a wait and watch to see whether the Saturday primetime gamble pays off for the GECs.