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Sony redefines weekend soaps

23-February-2004
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Sony redefines weekend soaps

It is a known fact that Sony’s strengths lie in weekend programming. In an attempt to consolidate this position, the channel is introducing Balaji’s social drama Kkehna Hai Kuch Mujhko. Though fresh, is there an audience for social dramas on weekends?

The channel’s weekend plan is to cut Kya Haadsa Kya Haqeeqat to half an hour. Sources indicate that a reason is that the return on the 8 p.m. property was not worth the spend. However, given that the new show is from the Balaji stable, the slot still belongs to the production house. Kkehna… will hit the tube on March 12, 2004 at the 8.30 p.m. slot on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Speaking about these measures, Amol Dighe, Investment Director, Mindshare Fulcrum expresses, “A one-hour thriller, three days a week does lead to speedier fatigue level. To have a half an hour thriller and a half an hour social drama instead makes more sense.”

However, do continuous story lines on weekends provide a staple audience diet to the channel? The nature of programmes like CID, Crime Patrol and even Kya… to some extent offers viewers a choice to walk in and out of the show. Devi on the other hand claims a set of socio-mythological audience. Kkoi Dil Mein Hai being a weekly doesn’t indicate the efficacy of weekend soaps.

If shows on channels like Star are observed, Hatim, Sshh… Vikraal… and others culminate in one or a few more episodes. Even if the viewers were to miss a couple of episodes, they wouldn’t lose interest in the storyline. Given these points, Kkehna… would be testing the scene to see whether a regular audience is available in this slot.

“It completely depends on the content,” says Dighe. “Agreed it hasn’t been tried before but the audience is there. Shows like Astitva on Zee, following a Sunday–Wednesday time, work. Even on Sony, if Kya… can deliver, why can’t a family soap? The key is to get the viewers and give compelling content.”

As a replacement, Kkehna… will not increase the weekend time band. The aim might be to lure in newer audience or a precaution to retain present viewerbase. Manish Porwal, General Manager, Investments and New Initiatives, Starcom says, “I think what Sony is expecting is to better its shares in the slot. This is a different product, so there will be a psychographic difference in audience. The attempt might be to arrest an anticipated fall in the Kya… graph. Sony’s focus, I guess is RoI. They want maximum outputs from limited inputs. The investment with Balaji wouldn’t have gone higher but the output will. If they can get anything better, then it’s a gain for the channel and more importantly they can spread inventory.”

Weekends presently appear to be the point from where Sony intends to fight the channel war. Apart from the development of weekend programming, the April to June period itself should be an entertaining one as far as the rating race is concerned. Properties from production houses like Balaji, Optimystix and Contiloe will make their mark on Sony in this period. With Star on a July–June calendar and Sony following April-March, activities in these three months might allow figures to flirt.

On being contacted, the channel’s EVP, Programming and Response, Tarun Katial stated that he didn’t want to talk about Kkehna Hai Kuch Mujhko as of now.

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