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Noorings: From the one show that changes it all...

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Noorings: From the one show that changes it all...

...To a number of shows that keep you on top.

Not too long ago, the brightest names in the business were talking about how one show could make it or break it for any Hindi general entertainment channel – such was the impact of the reenergised competition in the genre. In a sense, 2008, given the number of channels slated to launch in the Hindi GEC domain, marked the second phase of the genre in India.

Prior to that, general entertainment looked threatened by specialist channels due to the decline in share that general entertainment was witnessing in comparison to the growth that genres like news, kids, sports and regional were registering. The Star on top days were gone, the single channel getting 600 GRP days were gone, the end of soaps were predicted and the glory of Hindi GEC was questioned...

But the second phase changed all that. It brought faith back and when the decline arrested, general entertainment was ‘in’ again. But the one thing that was a result of that phase was that there was no clear genre leader anymore. There was a group of three channels on top and the difference between them could be changed by one good movie or one show at its peak. One talked about the West and how there were cycles and periods when one channel or network was on top. So of course, after the Star makeover and the channel making it to the top after a significant period of Colors staying there, made some people question - how long will this last?

But before we get there, the extreme competition on top that came from the second phase has continued and in the process, has once again face-lifted the genre. A channel crossing 300 GRP just a year back was seen with appreciation and now Star Plus is maintaining a healthy 350 GRP plus mark. The focus of channels like Colors and Zee TV to hold on to their positions is seeing them take new initiatives to stay on top. And the new energy from Sony Entertainment Television is only helping the genre further. Players like SAB have found a place in the chain too and one always expects Imagine TV and Star One to throw the occasional surprise...

Hindi general entertainment is headed to yet another fantastic phase and the question is where do genre leaders like Star, Colors and Zee find themselves... No one knows – coming back to my earlier question, how long this period of Star on top will last? But I recall a casual conversation with Uday Shankar (CEO, Star India) when Star was throwing a Delhi bash for the makeover of Star Plus. When I posed the same question to him his response (accompanied with his typical frown) was – “who tells you such things?”

And the more time is passing by, the more I begin to understand that in fact predictions for this genre are not simple to make. Comparisons with the West may not always be the smartest thing to do. Star Plus is doing what it had done in the past and what Zee TV has been focussing on for almost forever – a bouquet of shows that do well – may not get the high 5 and 6 TVRs but the steady 3s and 4s are good enough.

I guess one reason why Hindi GEC stays as enticing as it is, is because the moment you think you know a bit about the genre, you are proven completely wrong... 

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