Sony Entertainment Television is all set to expand its original programming some more. The channel has planned two more initiatives, this time in 8 pm to 9 pm band on weekdays bidding adieus to ‘Chandrakanta’. Scheduled for a mid-July release, the shows reiterate the channel’s focus on counter programming.
‘Hum Do Hai Na’ is a half-hour daily placed at the 8-pm slot. The programme is about twins separated at birth and, reuniting at the age of 11 at a town fair. The show largely aims at attracting kids. ‘Ayushman’ too focuses on the younger audience. The show, placed in a hospital milieu, revolves around a boy who has extraordinary powers.
The 8 to 9 pm band has not really delivered for Sony for quite sometime now. A reason can be repeat programming in the slot. The channel placed ‘Chandrakanta’ in the slot in late February 2004. However, the DD success was not repeated and the show played under one in terms of TVRs. The highest average weekly TVR that the slot made was 1.41 in week 7. Incidentally, if the numbers are seen post week 9, the highest the slot garnered was 0.99 in week 9, which has only decreased in the forthcoming weeks. In that sense, the new programmes are already welcome on the channel.
Says Divya Radhakrishnan, Head, Tata AoR, The Mediaedge, “With these launches, there are reasons to look at the channel positively because it is making a conscious attempt to build its programming. Sony didn’t do that when ‘Jassi’ was delivering, which was disappointing. The attempt sure puts the channel in better light now.”
In the 8 pm band, the show competes with the half-hour STAR weeklies, ‘Krishna Arjun’, ‘Khichdi’, ‘Sonpari’, ‘Kyun Hota Hai Pyaar’ and ‘Hum Sab Baraati’ on Zee TV. ‘Ayushman’ is pitted against ‘Kasautii Zindagi Kay’ and Zee’s ‘Lavanya’. “It is a bold step to compete against established programming like this,” asserts Amit Ray, Senior Vice President, OMS Mudra, “But it is also a given that they will have difficulty in getting that audience, which is already loyal to Kasautii.”
“The shows might not deliver huge numbers but they will provide a differentiated set of audience,” shares Ray. He explains that with these attempts Sony is not competing with STAR on the same space, which is a logical thing to do.
Like ‘Jassi’ and then ‘Ye Meri’, the concepts of the new shows are distinguished from the existent programming on the slot, which again raise expectations for new viewers or the early adopters. However, in the case of ‘Hum Dono’, which targets kids, the competition will be for the same eyeballs as that is the number, which is high on all the 8-pm weeklies.
What is important is that one after the other the channel has brought in original programming, moving away from the 9 to 10 pm focus, strengthening 8 to 10.30 pm band. A point worth noticing here is that where the channel made substantial noise around ‘Ye Meri…’ citing that there was a need to tell people that there is an alternative option on the slot, not much hype is created for the new shows.
“I don’t know how wise an idea that is. The mental intrigue has to be built and the content then has to live up to that. But then again even if the promotions are done for two weeks before the programme launch, they might be able to create the necessary awareness,” says Ray.
Coming close on the heels of ‘Ye Meri Life Hai’, which has started delivering for the channel now at 10 pm slot, the new shows would be looked at far more closely by media planners.
(TAM Media Research's ratings calculated on the C&S 4+ for the Hindi Speaking Markets)