Irrespective of the channel, players of mass entertainment genre concede to the difficulties that the 8.00 pm slot poses. Even as every player has seen a problem in this slot, a close look at 2005 shows that the present situation favours Sony and to some extent Zee TV, but STAR has reasons to worry.
What do numbers say?
TAM Media Research numbers indicate that while the beginning of the year (week 1 to week 11) was a plateau graph for Sony, for Star Plus the numbers were falling steadily and Zee TV noticed an increase. With the exception of week 10, Sony was the clear number three player in 8.00 to 8.30 pm slot from week 1 to week 11. The channel moved between a peak share of 4.23 and went as low as 2.44, the graph largely dotted with the 2 plus percentages.
The week 1 to 11 phase was a good one for Zee TV, which moves between 4.23 per cent and 6.5 per cent. Despite its falling graph, Star Plus’ channel share was more than double of the next best at 17.36 being the lowest share in this period. Sahara One was neck to neck with Sony until week 9. Post that, the channel saw a dip in its graph and is the constant number four player, not grossing more than a 3 per cent share. SAB TV was the fifth player, managing a 1 plus channel share.
Week 10 onwards, the scene begins to change. In regards to content, Star Plus and Zee TV continue with 'Dekho Magar Pyaar Se' and 'Tumhari Disha', but Sony wrapped its 8.00 pm daily 'Hum Do Hai Na' in week 9. It added content revolving around 'Indian Idol' beginning with 'Shaurat Ka Safar' in week 10, 'Saathi Haath…' in week 11, 'Yaadon Ka Safar' in week 12 and 'Abhijeet ka Safar' in week 13.
The programming did seem to click with the Indian viewers, as the numbers for Sony in week 12 takes it to the second slot with a channel share of 6.83. Week 13 delivered 7.8 per cent and week 14 (which had an episode 'Aapka Abhijeet' delivering a TVR of 4 plus followed by the launch of 'Kaisa Ye Pyaar Hai') went as high as 10.18.
Sony saw a dip in week 15 going to 8.67 per cent. However, this week onwards, Zee TV too began seeing a dip. From the 8.65 of week 14, it went down to 8.23 in week 15, further sliding to 6.88 in week 16 and 6.8 in week 17. Star Plus continued its slide, coming to as low as 14.86 in week 17.
The picture in week 18 and 19 sees Sony take on the leader with a channel share of 17.14 in week 19. STAR's sliding graph slides further to 14.06. Zee too sees a fall here and moves to 7.61.
Week 11 onwards, Sahara One had maintained a horizontal graph but SAB TV, the picture is grimmer, where from the 1 plus channel share that SAB was managing came down to decimal marks in the last four weeks. Evidently, for Sahara One and SAB TV, the respective fourth and fifth positioning hasn't changed. In week 19, SaharaOne is at 2.87 per cent and SAB TV at 0.73 per cent.
What clicked for 'Kaisa Ye Pyaar Hai'?
There are various reasons that one can attribute to 'Kaisa Ye Pyaar Hai' accumulating more numbers. In terms of external conditions that are working for Sony, Star's 'Dekho…' seems to have lost the audience interest visibly. This is one slot where the leader is comparatively weaker.
Deepak Segal, EVP, Content and Communication, STAR India, explained, "When 'Dekho…' came in, it had the task to bring in back the viewers, who were otherwise used to four different programmes in 8.00 pm and it did a good job of achieving that. We mustn't forget the 8.00 pm viewer can get bored very easily. Also, the show has seen changes in the production house as well. With all this, the show has seen its share of challenges. That said, we are aware of the competitive landscape presently and we are geared for it as well."
In terms of programming, Sony has introduced 'Kaisa Ye Pyaar Hai' with tent pole initiatives like concerts, female protagonists makeover and the introduction of could be 'Indian Idol', who are in any case popular with the Indian audience. All these together did help the channel to lure in more viewers.
In addition, Sony introduced a Friday slot for 'Kaisa Ye Pyaar Hai', which encapsulated the week for the viewer. "This allowed more sampling," said, Tushar Shah, Head, Marketing, Sony. "Apart from being a strong slot for us, Friday also brings in newer audience to the channel. 'Kaisa Ye Pyaar Hai' is a great product and this weekly initiative ensured that these weekend audiences too sampled the show and then followed it on the channel on weekdays."
Shah also points out the marketing thrust and the content of the show has worked in taking the show to the 3 plus weekly TVR that it has delivered. "Kaisa Ye Pyaar Hai has had the backing of 'Indian Idol'. We used 'Idol' as a vehicle to promote the product and it is paying off."
So far the picture does look rosy for Sony. However, Star Plus is ready with its initiative 'Le Jayenge Le Jayenge' in June, which is slated to take the 8.00 pm daily slot.
Zee officials were not available for comments at the time of filing the story.
(Average weekly channel share computed for Monday to Thursday, 8.00 pm to 8.30 pm for the C&S 4 + in the Hindi speaking market)