Competition in the television space has always been hot. But for Hindi mass entertainment channels, the battleground is only getting bigger. If primetime wasn’t enough, the mass channels are now working out a little war in the early primetime or, as Deepak Segal, Executive Vice-president, Content and Communication, STAR India, puts it, “nearly core primetime slot” in the 7.30 pm band.
In this state of affairs, the slot sees Zee TV reigning with its soap ‘Sinndoor’ which is giving it a stable nine per cent channel share. In comparison, STAR Plus gets only a six per cent in the slot and Sony is barely at three per cent.
However, things are set to change considering that Sony is moving its long-time driver property ‘Kkusum’ to 7.30 pm and STAR Plus is also gearing for a new 8.00 pm show which means ‘Mum, Hum aur Tum’ would move to the 7.30 pm slot.
Segal explained that contrary to what the slot looks like now, 7.30 pm has been a high-yield band with shows like ‘Shaka Laka Boom Boom’. Said Segal, “Given a family viewer’s lifestyle and the fact that India is predominantly a single TV household, the slot has seen a substantial amount of mother and child viewing.
The 8.00 pm show we were planning was taking time in production, and it made sense to begin with ‘Mum…’ in the 8.00 pm slot. But the show has high potential for the 7.30 pm slot as well.”
Sony has begun the promotions for the time change of ‘Kkusum. Channel officials are not divulging much on this at present, but executives in the know inform that the show is set to go off-air after a while. However, considering that ‘Kkusum’ has some loyal following, the slot is expected to bring some numbers for Sony, and ‘Mum…’ should do the same for STAR.
Zee TV has a head start here and is already geared for competition’s activities. Said Ashvini Yardi, Head, Programming, Zee TV, “With ‘Sinndoor’, it is a slot we created. Prior to this not much was seen in this time band. We are prepared for the activities that will soon begin from other channels here.”
She divulged that the forthcoming storylines on the channel have been worked in such a way that ‘Sinndoor’ will be able to maintain its viewers. Media experts believe that for the genre on the whole, this is a good direction with more slots being converted into deliverables.
“The slot is not very active right now but ‘Sinndoor’ has shown that it can bring in some numbers with the right programming,” said Manish Porwal, Executive Director, Starcom. “The primetime on the whole is extended and development of new time bands like this is a positive step for Hindi mass channels.”
Pradeep Iyengar, National Buying Head, Carat Media, agrees: “Channels are looking at this slot because of the availability of content. This implies that there is more that can be used than just the core primetime. You have that many more options and this is very good for advertisers as well.
For the channels, they have something more to talk about and generate revenue and for the viewer, yet more choices – quite a win-win situation for all.”
A thing that media experts are clear about is that 7.30 pm is not going to be a high delivery band for quite some time but what matters is that it brings choices for both the viewer and the advertiser and allows channels to present variety. Not really a time band to discuss but with channels taking some steps on the slot and Zee TV actually benefiting from it right now, it is a band that can offer Hindi mass channels some scope to show overall channel growth.