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Music, music everywhere, but which is the hunt that rates?

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Music, music everywhere, but which is the hunt that rates?

The Indian broadcast industry is experiencing a phase when the options in the Hindi general entertainment sector is set to multiply by almost 100 per cent in just a matter of months now. Nonetheless, the top three Hindi GECs – Star Plus, Zee TV and Sony – choose to air musical talent hunts of similar nature, in similar day parts. From these, the one delivering is the show that has played a significant role in changing Zee TV’s ratings graphs – ‘Saregamapa Challenge’.

If numbers are anything to go by, TAM Media Research shows that for the C&S 4+ in the Hindi speaking markets, Saregamapa episodes have rated better than ‘Indian Idol - Season 3’ and the newcomer on Star Plus, ‘Star Voice of India’ (VOI). ‘Saregamapa Challenge’ is the only show that has the distinct honour of displacing Star Plus’ shows to occupy the top slots in weekly top 10 episodes.

For the record, ‘Saregamapa’ is one of the longest running properties on Zee TV and the channel has reinvented this property’s formats in various ways in the last three years. ‘Indian Idol’, a Fremantle Media format, debuted on Sony in late 2004 and was responsible for giving Sony some of its highest numbers in the first season. ‘Star VOI’ was launched on the channel earlier this year.

Ratings indicate that while all three shows have added more eyeballs on an average as they moved along, the pace at which ‘Saregamapa Challenge’ has added more viewers is stronger than ‘Indian Idol’ and ‘Star VOI’, hence placing the show distinctly ahead of its competition.

Media Direction’s Kunal Jamuar takes a more critical look at these shows. “‘Saregamapa’ may have built brand equity over a period of time, but the show has also used ‘sensationalism’ to attract more viewers. By that I mean that some of the guests that the show has or some of the celebrity episodes really have been sensational enough to pull and hang on to the viewer,” he observed.

Divya Gururaj, Managing Director, MediaCom, observed, “‘Saregamapa’ is a long standing show and is known for its musical talent. Zee TV has also made it more engaging with the ‘Mahayudh’ format, and this has added to the show as it has grown. ‘Indian Idol’ is a hip-happening show, and has viewer traction due to some great compering and celebrity judging. In the case of VOI, the show is a new entrant and so far has been unable to differentiate significantly from the other two shows.”

The experts are clear that the quality of talent or the production values have not led to this difference in numbers between the shows.

Another point that Jamuar raises is that to some extent with the new TAM panel seeing a significant increase in peoplemeters in markets like Delhi might have tilted the game in Zee TV’s favour too. He said, “In the expanded markets, the focus on Delhi is proportionately higher. So, today Delhi dictates the trends more than a Mumbai does, and Delhi has been a strong market for Zee TV for a long time.”

Both experts are, however, quick to add that on an overall level, a situation where the three leading channels have similar shows is not the best thing to happen for advertisers.

“At the end of the day, you look for eyeballs. At present, for the same amount of money advertisers are making one-third the viewership and this doesn’t make sense. Each genre has a specific percentage of the audience and unless these channels manage to increase the pie in a big way, and viewership doesn’t get trifurcated like now, the situation is not helping the advertisers,” observed Jamuar.

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