The year 2006 will always be seen as the one when Hindi general entertainment channels (GEC) saw entertainment beyond just ‘good stories, well told’. Where STAR India branched out on newer avenues, players like Zee TV got back in the reckoning and ‘digital’ became a part of everyone’s life. STAR Plus led the pack with its significant shares of the sector. The trend seen in the year did see the leader lose shares as has been the case for some time now.
STAR Plus – the leader’s touch
The beginning of the year saw STAR Plus move between 16 per cent and 18 per cent channel shares, but the second half is more between 14 per cent and 16 per cent shares – occasional weeks seeing the cannel dropping even below the 14 per cent mark.
The year saw STAR face problems in the weekend with the premature wrapping up of ‘KBC 2’. Where the weekend graph dwindled, the 9.00 pm slot also became a challenge for STAR Plus with the properties there not delivering as much as competition.
STAR Plus, however, had taken a number of initiatives in the year that allowed it to maintain its high – events in the forms of STAR Screen Awards were paying the occasional numbers for the channel but March 2006 saw STAR Plus come back in its weekend with ‘Jodee Kamaal Ki’, a stopgap till ‘KBC 2’ replacement ‘Prithviraj Chauhan’ was launched in May 2006.
The channel also re-focussed on its afternoon band in the month with a slew of marketing activities lined up. March was also the month when some of the first digital initiatives were seen from the channel for its 8.00 pm launch ‘Pyaar Key Do Naam, Ek Radha Ek Shyaam’.
The period also saw STAR India announce a change in its marketing strategy where the channel decided not to go overboard in promoting a show unless it was a timed show like a format or a game show.
On programming again, the middle of the year saw more changes in the weekend with shows like ‘Thodi si zameen, Thoda sa Aasman’ coming in, soon to be followed by ‘Lucky’ and weekend again had some good numbers to show for the channel. In November 2006, STAR added ‘Aek Chabhi Hai Padoss Mein’ here.
STAR was also quick to replace its 8.00 pm ‘Pyaar ke do naam…’ with kids’ show ‘Antariksh’ in September 2006. The 9.00 pm battle intensified in August when STAR launched ‘Karam Apna Apna’ in place of ‘Kkavyanjali’ in August 2006.
Branded entertainment finally materialised for STAR when in July, STAR Plus launched Advertiser Funded Programming and In-programme Placement cells and examples like ‘Rin Mera Star Super Star’ came into the picture, which contributed their share of numbers to the channel in the early primetime blocks.
With the clear focus that STAR India placed on indya.com and the 7827 platform and making a presence in international markets via the BSkyB platform, the year really saw STAR Plus making a presence everywhere and the leadership story for the channel continues.
Zee TV – history repeats?
On the No. 2 spot continually, but the real success story of the year can be seen in Zee TV. From the beat third position and a continuous range of shows that didn’t work, Zee TV had a wonderful 2006. Looking at numbers again, Zee TV was contending closely with Sony TV in the beginning of 2006. In terms of numbers, Zee TV has seen a steady increase in the graph from a 4 plus share to a steady play between the 6 and 8 marks.
While 2006 might not have started too well for Zee TV with ‘Kam Ya Zyaada’ being its key property, the year saw Zee launch many initiatives and luckily for Zee, most delivered. The afternoon slot saw action with the simultaneous launch of ‘Kasamh Se’ in January. ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa’ saw many new roles in the year with ‘L’il Champs’ giving Zee TV one of its all time high.
Some of the other initiatives for the channel that worked comprised of ‘Business Baazigar’, ‘Johnny Lever Aala Re’ and ‘Dulhan’. September saw some heated action between STAR and Zee TV over ‘Betiyaan’ and the show did deliver numbers for Zee TV. The year concluded with ‘Ravan’ and the announcement of the return of ‘Antakshari’.
Sony TV – time to catch up
The year didn’t see Sony TV add any numbers. But that wasn’t the best of news for the channel as that meant as an increase in gap between Zee TV and Sony. Sony undertook many activities in the year beginning with the embarking of a new programming strategy in March 2006. The ‘Shukra Hai Shukravaar Hai’ band was launched and to some extent it gave Sony some numbers. This was followed by a new show launching spree, unfortunately not many worked. Some of the new shows included ‘Aisa Desh Hai Mera’ and ‘Thodi Khushi Thode Gham’.
Following this, the afternoon band was launched May 2006. ‘Jassi’ finally bid adieu to the channel and was replaced by ‘Vaidehi’. The other new shows in the year were ‘Akela’, ‘Mann Main Hai Vishwass’, ‘Jhalak Dikhla Ja’, ‘Kajal’ and ‘Bigg Boss’.
The next rung
STAR One, Sahara One and SAB in manner of speaking had better numbers to show towards the end of the year. Sahara One had a good two month when cricket was brought on the channel but apart from this, the channel came back to its playing levels that barely crossed the 2 per cent channel share mark until the last quarter of the year, when all three channels saw an increase in numbers – STAR One clearly adding the most in terms of shares.
All three channels have been very active in the year – where STAR One and SAB were active through the year, Sahara One really added more in terms of new shows only towards the last part of the year.
(TAM Media Research data calculated on all day data for the C&S 4+ in the Hindi speaking market)