The year 2005 began with quite a bang with at least three major launches on Star Plus and Sony in the primetime band. As the weeks have passed, not only have the new shows found their footing but have created reasons to worry for shows in competing slots.
9.30 pm: Kkavyanjali - Launched on January 25
The first mega launch of the year was 'Kkavyanjali' in Star Plus' 9.30 pm slot. According to TAM Media Research data, 'Kkavyanjali's launch gave the channel a lion's share of 35.84 per cent. However, in the weeks that followed, the numbers steadily declined, coming down to a 26.4 per cent in week 13. Sony saw considerable action in this period, with the much-awaited Jassi makeover, giving the channel a significant 20.23 share.
In the period hence, the scene has considerably changed. Star Plus' 9.30 band is picking up. From the 26.4, the channel has steadily risen to 31.8 in week 17. On the other hand, Jassi has seen a dip, coming to 16.66 per cent in week 17. For Star, this increase is encouraging. Deepak Segal, EVP, Content & Communication, STAR India, said, "It was a gamble - to take off four successful shows and bring in two half hour dailies. It would affect viewing patterns and it wasn't necessary that the audience would openly welcome this change!"
Segal explained that the show itself was seeing problems with a change in the cast and even the story line. "These details are in place now and the numbers have immediately grown. We are very thrilled with that."
For him, the show should only grow from here. The exact sentiment that Tarun Katial, EVP and Business Head, Sony, voiced for his show, 'Kaisa Ye Pyar Hai'.
8.00 pm: Kaisa Ye Pyar Hai - Launched on March 29
With 'Hum Do Hai Na' taking this slot previously, 8.00 pm did spell trouble for 'Kaisa Ye Pyar Hai'. Even though the channel placed 'Abhijeet Ka Safar' here, which did deliver, unlike Star where the new shows had to maintain leadership position, for Sony 'Kaisa' had to develop the slot. In its first week, the show gave Sony an average channel share of 10.18 but in the following week, this number fell to a 8.67. However, in the last two weeks, the numbers have increased to a 10.93 and then a 12.51, substantially reducing the gap with the leader and more importantly creating one with Zee TV again.
Zee was otherwise neck to neck with Sony in this race, with 'Tumhari Disha' holding on to a loyal audience. However, in week 16 and 17, Zee has seen a drop and hence Sony is on the clear number two position.
"The characters are established now," said Katial, "We are further working with Balaji to create tent poles in the plot so that more audience sample and stay on the show."
The channel has planned a one-hour special on May 2, where the female lead gets a makeover. The other programming spikes around the show include a concert where all the lead characters of the channel will perform. Star Plus' 'Dekho Magar Pyar Se' is giving the channel problems in this slot. STAR is seeing a steady fall in viewership in this slot coming down from highs like 24.03 in week 3 and 21.09 in week 6 to 15.3 in week 15 and 14.88 in week 17. Segal explained that action can be expected in the slot soon.
9.00 pm: Miilee - Launched on April 4
Miilee has STAR India reasonably excited again. The 9.00 pm slot was delivering well for Star Plus with the weeklies (barring Saara Aakash, which has been moved to a Friday slot) reaching their climax. 'Miilee' has retained this number and in the last two weeks, taken Plus to higher channel share - from the 34.92 of its launch week, the show has given the channel 38.2 in week 17.
Zee throws an almost horizontal graph in this period indicating that the viewership there isn't much affected by competition. 'Kkusum' in the corresponding slot is facing problems, though they cannot be attributed to Miilee's launch. The show delivered only a share of 11.25 in week 17, where at one point, a 13 plus came easily to 'Kkusum'. Katial explained that some changes can be seen here soon, with a change in the protagonist and a considerable tweak in the story line again.
In all, the new shows are working. Competition today is much more accentuated than what shows like 'Sanjivani' and 'Des Mein Nikla' saw at the time of their launch. The establishing of these new properties, hence, is a positive sign for mass entertainment per se.
(The average weekly channel share (Monday to Thursday) is calculated on TAM Media Research data for target CS 4+ in the Hindi speaking market)