Humraaz, the movie aired on ZEE on Thursday 17th October has proved to be a winner. It has got a place in the top twenty programmes of the week as far as TRPs for the week ending 19th October are concerned. If we look at Thursday alone, ZEE occupies five slots out of top ten. Two of these slots go to playwin while three are occupied by the movie. TVRs for the feature film have touched 9.1. In the previous week, Shahid Bhagat Singh had managed to find its way in the top fifty.
Does it mean that happy days are here again for ZEE and it has hit bull's eye with this new strategy? Not so soon, say the experts. According to reports, Humraaz came at a much higher cost than some other movies like Om Jai Jagdish and Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai, which, incidentally, are not expected to create the same magic either.
The ad rates for Thursday Premier are pegged between Rs 1 lac 20 thousand to 1 lac 60 thousand. Though, media planners are adopting a wait and watch strategy, they do consider it to be a smart move on number three channel's part to surge ahead.
Says Srikant Raman, Media Director, Mudra Communications, "It is a very brave strategy - well thought through. Zee has tried to create a disruption by shifting the movie to Thursday and roping in big titles. In a monopolistic market, disruption is the only way to get a break through. The strategic idea has worked. However, whether the channel is able to sustain this very expensive strategy in the long run is yet to be seen. There is a risk of bottom-line falling. Unless and until ZEE invests in producing television films itself - abroad, Band of Brothers is as big a hit as any feature film."
The media fraternity believes that a hit Bollywood film can indeed be quite successful in luring the audience to the TRP starved channel. Says PRP Nair, Vice President, Media, RK Swamy, BBDO, "Basically, Indians have an orientation towards films. Films have been best drivers for expansion. Now ZEE has an opportunity, which it should exploit to the maximum." However, recent failures of the channel in launching good programmes have made media professionals apprehensive, and they don't want to buy spots on the channel in a hurry. Says Nair, "We will wait and watch - and will put more money on it if there is some kind of consistency, in TRPS and quality of programmes and movies."
There is also a belief that the channel should not kill the golden goose in a hurry to make big profits. "Next day is a working day and the movie stretching till 12- 12.30 pm due to a lot of commercial breaks might work against it. Besides the advertisers are hesitant due to the clutter that is already quite noticeable. Says Raman, "The channel should try to rope in good brands that are ready to pay a premium to be in a clutter-free atmosphere. There should be only sponsorships and no spot buys. Today advertisers look at the TRPs of the commercials as well and usually it is approximately 15% of the programme. They have to do better than the norm if they really want to pull it off".
Besides the channel should also look at promoting its other programmes in the duration of the movie. Says Nair, "When Star launched KBC - nearly 50% of commercial time was being used to promote their own programmes. ZEE would need to look at a similar strategy to steer viewers towards their other programmes. Though all of them will not sample other programmes, there is a fairly good chance that some of them will".