This is probably a first for the Hindi general entertainment genre when three players have claimed the top two positions. The latest data from TAM Media Research continue to put Star Plus at the top with a score of 298 GRPs. The numbers for Week 39 show that for the target C&S 4+ in the Hindi-speaking markets, Colors and Zee TV have both cornered 236 GRPs (236.1 to be precise).
The channel that had entered as the 10th player in the space is already competing with the top two players within just ten weeks of its launch. Many media observers have stated that after Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC), Colors is the next significant milestone for the Hindi general entertainment genre. Many others, however, are still waiting to see how the genre’s competitive dynamics shape up from here.
An observation that has been made is that Colors is still getting a significant number of its GRPs from repeat programming of shows like ‘Baalika Vadhu’ and from high-impact format shows like ‘Bigg Boss’ and now even ‘Ek Khiladi Ek Hasina’ that has opened well for the channel.
Commenting on this week’s numbers, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited’s (ZEEL) President and Revenue Head, Joy Chakraborthy, explained, “GRP is not the best parameter for measuring the efficacy of a Hindi GEC. Zee TV is delivering the highest number of purple ratings, which is what the advertisers want. Is the advertiser really looking for a 6.00 am or an 8.00 am rating point from GECs? I don’t think so.”
He added, “Zee TV is catching up with the number one. We are one of the few channels where soaps are delivering. In all, we are one of the best buys that the space has, and media planners include Zee TV in all of their plans. The going is very good for us.”
Clutter on the top
Is the present situation, where three channels take the top two slots, good for the genre and for advertisers? R Gowthaman, MD, Mindshare South Asia, doesn’t see this as an ideal situation for advertisers. He said, “The ratings supply from Colors is coming from only a few programmes. The GRPs are high because of the repeats, and that implies that the channel is unable to add any incremental viewers to the overall numbers. The proof of the pudding lies in ‘Baalika Vadhu’s numbers alone. The show’s repeats are adding much to the total channel GRPs. These numbers are not contributing to the reach. In the current situation, the reach of the top three channels has come down. This is not good for advertisers.”
OMD India’s Managing Director Jasmin Sohrabji on the other hand believes that the overall competition in the genre is a healthy sign for everyone. She said, “From both the advertiser and the genre’s point of view, it is very good to have three to four good players in the space. No one wants a monopolistic situation. Even from the genre standpoint, this would avoid complacency, and we would see innovative and fresh programming. They are actively looking at breaking the mould.”
Sandeep Lakhina, Managing Director, India (West and South), Starcom Worldwide, echoed Sohrabji’s view and said that the larger the number of strong players, the better. He observed, “We are very clearly seeing a pack of good players emerging and that is a good thing for the genre.”
On whether it made sense to allow ratings to flow in from repeat programming and format shows, both industry leaders said that this did not appear to be a sustainable model. Sohrabji said, “For any channel, the point to watch out for is whether it is operating on a model that it can rely on. A skew towards high impact formats may not work in the favour of the channel and it would need a wider range of programming that would then attract different kinds of viewers and hence advertisers.”
Lakhina added, “The genre is seeing a trend where channels are ensuring that they get two or three good shows that can propel them to a higher position amongst the channels. However, dependence on repeats or formats would not work in the long run. Very clearly, the next step for Colors is to broaden their original programming and add more to the mix.”