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Sony’s 3-in-1 punch of new shows promise of a good run ahead

05-December-2005
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Sony’s 3-in-1 punch of new shows promise of a good run ahead

Backing ‘Indian Idol’ second season with ‘Deal Ya No Deal’ and ‘Ek Ladki Anjani Si’, Sony Entertainment Television is seeing much action since November 21, 2005. The opening numbers of the new shows are here and reactions are mixed. While for ‘Idol’, the numbers are ‘expectedly’ good, for ‘Deal…’ it is reasonably good, and for ‘Ek Ladki…,’ ratings are expected to be better going forward.

On the overall picture, the new shows allowed Sony’s primetime (8.00 pm to 11.00 pm) channel share a little boost. The increase is perhaps not as significant as the fact that unlike various earlier instances when the channel has increased share on the back of one property, the growth now comes from different properties. Needless to say, the channel is positive about the opening numbers.

N P Singh, COO, Sony Entertainment Television, said, “This is a very good beginning. For all the shows – ‘Indian Idol’ in its second season, ‘Ek Ladki…’ replacing ‘Jassi…’ and bringing ‘Deal…’, which is a very fresh format to the audience – the challenges were huge. The 9.30 pm slot wasn’t performing for a while. In the light of all this, these are very good opening numbers and for all the shows, it is only set to get better.”

In case of ‘Indian Idol’, the one-hour show is playing two days a week – Monday and Tuesday at 8.30 pm. The opening number of the show for the C&S 4+ in the Hindi speaking market is 5.4, which slides to 4.8 on the next day, according to TAM Media Research.

The show has seen highs like 8 plus, if TRPs of the second half of the show are seen (9.00 to 9.30 pm). A point worth noticing is that in its first run in October 2004, the show had opened at 5.8 on a Friday and kept the pace over the weekend, which was seen as a good slot for Sony at the time.

Unlike, the last run, the new season is placed on a reasonably difficult slot, given that even as ‘Fame Gurukul’ ended on a good note for the channel, the extended programming around the show, ‘Celebrity Fame Gurukul’ and later ‘Dus Ke Dus…’ largely played in the 2 and 3 plus region. Media experts hence, view ‘Idol’ numbers a positive note to begin on.

While media experts like Nandini Dias, Vice-President, Lodestar Media, are happy with the numbers and assert that going forward, the show will pick up, Manish Porwal, Executive Director, Starcom (West) reflects a second set of views, remarking that the numbers are in line with expectations. However, going forward, he sees the same growth curve as ‘Idol’ did last time, “It will dip from here – may be get in the 3 plus range at an average and then towards the finale, will come in the 8 plus average,” Porwal said.

R Gowthaman, GM, Mindshare Fulcrum, brings yet another point of view. “I think it’s still too early to say whether or not these are good numbers, and the same applies for Deal…’. From what I understand of Deal…, the format grows on people and picks up in later stages. Going by that, the shows need some more time to be passed a judgement on,” he observed.

Dias and Porwal have a difference of opinion on ‘Deal…’. Porwal thinks the numbers are higher than expectations, “They initially had come at prize money of Rs 2.5 crore and that would have added more to the show. Now, when it is down to Rs 1 crore, it is more like a one-of-many shows with neither a strong anchor pull nor a yet-established format. So, the expectations from the show had dipped, and going by that, these are good numbers.”

Dias, however, is of the opinion that even as ‘Idol’ and ‘Ek Ladki…’ are expected to deliver favourably going forward, the same cannot be said for ‘Deal…’ The show is placed in the 8.30 pm one-hour block on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. It opened on a 3.5 and then moved to 2.5 and 2.17 going forward.

The production house of ‘Idol’ and ‘Deal…’, Miditech, is content with the numbers too. “You can’t minus the fact that there were too many other things happening on television like cricket, which has the tendency to eat into Hindi GEC. Also, at the same time as ‘Idol’, ‘Kasautii…’ (on STAR Plus) played without a single break. I think what ‘Idol’ really does on TV will be established better in the coming weeks, when some of these elements aren’t in the picture,” stated Nikhil Alva, CEO, Miditech.

It should be noted that ‘Kasautii…’ on STAR Plus rated 11 plus on November 21, 2005 – one of the highest numbers the show has seen in weeks – in effect expanding Hindi GEC share.

Of the two shows, Alva is very convinced on ‘Deal…’ “It’s not a simple, straightforward format. The audience need time to get used to it and we have some fantastic episodes lined up. As a matter of fact, every week ‘Deal…’ has something interesting to keep the audience interest piqued,” said Alva, asserting, “The show will grow.”

The only soap of the three, ‘Ek Ladki…’ opened at 2.8 and then moved to 1.9, 2.01 and 1.41 for in the rest of the week. Experts like Porwal and Dias are very positive on the road ahead for the show. According to both, the show is away from usual storylines, and the new approach will play its bit in attracting eyeballs.

Gowthaman is not very assertive on what can be expected from the show, but does expresses that the opening numbers at least could have been better.

On the larger picture, Porwal agrees with a point that Sony’s EVP, Marketing, Nina Jaipuria, made at the time of the launch of these shows, calling it ‘the beginning of a new era of entertainment’. Said he, “This vindicates the fact that the regular entertainment formulae is going to take a backseat and alternate genre, which at present is largely led by reality and format shows, will do better. For Sony, this is good news – it is the best platform the channel could get.”

Evidently, the ‘let’s talk about Sony’ days are here again. The channel has always managed better perception around it than deliver actual numbers and for what it’s worth, it has worked in the favour of the channel too. With this new line-up and a host of shows ready to come on-air, surely there will be more to speak on Sony in days to come.

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