Fiction shows have always been the mainstay for Hindi GECs. Time and again, this genre has focussed on fiction-based content as opposed to non-fiction shows, which were usually undertaken occasionally. In a recent reversal of the trend, it can be observed that Hindi GECs have been launching a slew of big ticket non-fiction shows – be it reality or talent hunt.
The year 2013 has seen the launch of around eight shows in the non-fiction genre till date. Star Plus launched India’s Dancing Superstar on the back of the Nach Baliye Season Five during the IPL season. Star Plus will also be adding Junior MasterChef to its line-up. It can be recalled that the channel had previously launched MasterChef – Kitchen ke Superstar in March 2013.
Sony Entertainment Television also launched a reality-based format show Indian Idol Junior on June 1, 2013. Zee TV launched DID Super Moms on June 1, 2013, an extension of its earlier series of Dance India Dance.
Colors came back with the new season of its reality dance series Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa on June 1, 2013. Apart from this, it can be recalled that the channel has the Indian adaptation of 24 in the pipeline. Life Ok, the second Hindi GEC from STAR Network would also be launching The Bachelorette India – Mere Khayalon ki Mallika, which is based on the international series The Bachelor, for which the channel has officially acquired rights.
One interesting observation is the fact that channels today are also introducing non-fiction based content to their weekday programming line-up as opposed to only weekends. Star Plus airs MasterChef on the 8PM time slot on weekdays. Recently, Zee TV introduced a new format show Connected Hum Tum on June 3, 2013 on the 10PM time slot on weekdays.
Given the fact that the production cost of an hour of non-fiction based content ranges anywhere between Rs 80 lakh to Rs 1 crore as opposed to Rs 8 lakh to Rs 10 lakh for 30 minutes of a fiction based show, what makes this a viable option is the question.
According to experts, one of the key reasons for channels going aggressive on non-fiction reality content is that most of the channels in the Hindi GEC space observed a GRP slump during the IPL season. In order to create buzz and garner back viewer attention, broadcasters have been keen on leveraging such shows, which are in most cases celebrity-driven. Also, past viewership trends are reticent of the viewership pull that these shows are capable of.
Larger pie share
According to a KPMG report, the year 2012 saw non-fiction based shows such as Kaun Banega Crorepati occupying around 42 per cent of viewership pie, followed by Bigg Boss 6 clocking 39.8 per cent, Dance India Dance garnering around 25 per cent and Satyamev Jayate occupying 22.7 per cent of the viewership pie.
This is far higher than what the top fiction shows such as Bade Achhe Lagte Hai (24.7 per cent), Balika Vadhu (18.1 per cent), Diya Aur Bati Hum (12.3 per cent) and Tarak Mehta Ka Ulta Chasma (14.6 per cent) essentially command. Some of the other popular non-fiction shows which fared well were Jhalak Dikkhla Jaa, Comedy Circus, Indian Idol 6, India’s Got Talent 4 and ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa.
Apart from the high TVRs and the viewership share that non-fiction content are able to garner, the shows present a larger avenue for monetisation as opposed to their fiction counterparts. Recently, Colors was successful in pre-selling a majority of its inventory with ad spots during high-point episodes, commanding a higher rate. Apart from the inventories, non-fiction shows also present opportunities for creating branded content as well in-show product placements, which experts believe is one of the significant reasons why broadcasters chose to undertake the big ticket shows.
All said and done, Hindi GEC players feel that though channels will undertake big ticket non-fiction launches, at the end of the day, fiction content has always been and will remain mainstay. Though Hindi GECs undertake reality-based shows on regular intervals, fiction shows are much more economically viable in the long-run.