In early 2010, we were speaking to Uday Shankar (CEO, STAR India) on the way Star Plus was reclaiming its leadership position, which Colors had taken over, and it was very impressive the way the channel was doing it – the new thought behind its shows and the ‘Rishta Wahee, Soch Nayee’ avatar of the channel. It all really did work for Star Plus. But Star One was losing any place it had in the general entertainment structure, and Shankar confessed that the management did take its eyes off the ball in the case of Star One, as all attention was focussed on Star Plus.
Some early moves of this were seen when dance reality show ‘Nach Baliye’ was taken from Star One and placed on Star Plus, and this was back in 2007. One would hear of big ticket and out-of-the-box shows such as ‘Aap ki Kachehri’, ‘Sach Ka Saamna’ and ‘Zara Nachke Dikha’ through the last three years on Star Plus but zilch on Star One. In fact, it was not till November 2010, that Star One even began to speak of new initiatives and new plans on the channel.
At that time, the average weekly GRP of the channel was in the 50+ range and today this number is down to 30+. Star One is stacked as one of the lowest delivering Hindi general entertainment channels, a notch up only to Sahara One. The other development that perhaps would be worrying STAR in some weeks was the rise and rise of SAB, the second general entertainment channel from Multi Screen Media. With around 120 GRPs weekly GRPs, there are weeks when SAB manages to score higher than elder sibling Sony Entertainment Television. There are times when the combined weekly GRPs of the two channels bring it very close or slightly better than Star Plus and Star One’s combined GRPs. And no matter how Star views or comments on this, this is not a situation that the company would be too pleased with.
While the channel did ramp up its programming, put together a new set of shows for Star One and even increase its primetime block to six days a week, the efforts were too less when Star One had been in a lull for over a year by then. The big punch was not packed with the new shows; the one big hook was missing.
And ‘Sach Ka Saamna’ should be that one big hook. Much like Star had taken ‘Nach Baliye’ from Star One and put it on Star Plus, the company has now taken ‘Sach Ka Saamna’ from Star Plus and put it on Star One. ‘Sach Ka Saamna’, the adaptation of international format ‘Moment of Truth’ had become quite a talking point due to the bold format of the show when it was first aired on Star Plus, so much so that the show had to be taken to the 11.00 pm slot.
And Star is bringing back the second season after nearly two years. I have yet not seen STAR One go gaga in mass marketing the show and the channel but sources tell us that STAR One will see more action this year.
The bigger picture, if STAR does spend time on Star One and manages to grow Star Plus in the manner that it is, would be the impact on the genre. Unlikely Star One can eat into SAB’s audiences, since SAB has a different proposition from the other GECs. There is the likelihood of Imagine being hit but more than that there is also that possibility that the genre itself will see some more eyeballs added. The last three years have been about the growth of the Hindi GE genre despite some extreme apprehension from industry observers on the relevance of general entertainment to a new age audience. Channels like Star Plus, Colors and Zee TV have faced their own sach ka saamna moments and have emerged victorious at the end of it.
If 2011 is going to see STAR India focus on one more GE, it should be another interesting year for this genre.