At what may be considered a no-yielding slot for other channels in the immediate radius, Star Plus has looked at the late night slot with optimism. Last year, in September and October, the channel launched two fiction shows – ‘Kali – Ek Agnipariksha’ and ‘Maryada – Lekin Kab Tak?’ at 11 pm and 11.30 pm, respectively.
As per data from TAM Media Research for the target market C&S 4+ in the Hindi speaking markets, ‘Kali…’ opened with a 2.52 TVR on September 13, 2010, and averaged at 2.3 TVR in the first week. In the four months since its launch, with the exception of October, when the show had an average rating of around 1.5 TVR, ‘Kali…’ has managed to stay at around 2 TVR.
‘Maryada...’ debuted on October 18, 2010 with a 1.11 TVR and has stayed in the same vicinity with no sharp peak or fall in ratings. It is interesting to note that ‘Maryada...’ manages to get good numbers for its repeats as well, and better ratings for weekend repeats.
STAR India’s President, Kevin Vaz, informed that the shows had played a crucial role in getting the male TG on the channel. Vaz explained, “The concept of these shows attracts male viewership, and a late night time band allows it. More importantly, it is an engaged audience and Star is dominating this time slot. So, from an advertiser viewpoint, even if is a rating of 1-plus, it is a meaningful number.”
But is the attempt paying off in terms of profitability?
Industry observers informed that shows of the scale of ‘Kali…’ and ‘Maryada’ could cost a channel Rs 5-6 lakh per episode. In the current state, on an average advertisers are paying anywhere between Rs 1.3 lakh and Rs 1.5 lakh per 30 seconds for ‘Kali…’ and almost Rs 1 lakh per 30 seconds for ‘Maryada...’.
A senior media planner explained, “Especially for a channel like Star Plus, STAR does not bundle shows or give bonuses or RODP spots (return on day parts) as such. Depending on the deal you have, you have to choose time bands for Star Plus. If you had to see this time band, Star Plus does an average of 12-13 minutes of commercial in an hour, so one can calculate how profitable or not the slot is for the channel.”
Star Plus has long been experimenting with time bands and has not shied away from breaking out of the traditionally defined primetime slot. As early as 2004, the channel had brought in shows such as ‘Kahiin To Hoga’, ‘Kahin Kissi Roz’ and later ‘K-Street Pali Hill’ in the 11 pm slot, which fared better than core primetime shows at 9 pm. Earlier in June 2009, Star Plus had launched the reality show ‘Sach Ka Saamna’ in the 10.30-11.30 pm slot amidst a cloud of buzz.
These are still early days for both ‘Kali…’ and ‘Maryada’, but so far, the going for Star, also given the lack of competition in the slot, is good.