After a slew of launches by competitors, the leader has decided to tighten the noose further. Star TV is launching 4 new shows this August – ‘Kyon Hota Hai Pyar’, ‘Shaka Laka Boom Boom’, ‘Chupe Chehre’ and ‘Sea Hawks’. Three of these shows are scheduled for the Prime Time on Star. However, what is also interesting to note, is that none of the recent launches announced by Sony, Zee and Star are in the 9 pm to 11 pm time band.
Star’s dominance during the 10 pm to 11 pm slot, and Star and Sony’s strength in the 9 pm to 10 pm band, has prompted all the 3 channels to look for extending the prime time. Though technically defined as 7 pm to 11 pm, the prime time peaks during 9 pm and 11 pm.
Recently however, the 8 pm to 9 pm band has also come into focus, with Zee launching Kammal (8 – 8:30pm) a few weeks back, and Sony TV announcing the launch of Madhuri Dixit anchored ‘Shubh Vivah’ (8 – 8:30pm). Star has already been going strong in the 8 pm to 9 pm band, generating a TVR rating of 3% to 6%. Kundali, it seems, has been the weakest with the program getting the lowest TVR of 3.16 %, a reason that might have prompted Star to replace it by a new show.
However, Star officials opine quite differently. Says Tarun Katial, Senior VP Programming, Star TV, “Kundali is one of the shows we acquired from Nine Gold. It goes off air after its complete run. Also, Kundali gets a TRP of 3.16, and features among Top 50 shows on TV, which is much higher than several shows on Zee & Sony. Even the shows doing well must end & that is why Kundali is being replaced.”
Fair enough but how about the competition? Is Star reacting to the recent developments taking place on competing channels?
Says Katial, “We have already established the 8.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m. slots with great shows like Krishna Arjun, Kalash, Sonpari, Kundali and Kya Masti Kya Dhuum. All these shows have been on air for over one year & continue to be among the Top 50 shows every week. Between 8.30 pm to 9.00 pm everyday, we have ‘Kasauti Zindagi Kay’, which has a TRP of 8.57 and features in the Top 10 shows. We surely welcome the launch of Sony & Zee shows, which add to the competition. Only through competition, come fresh ideas.”
Extension of prime time, it seems, has become the order of the day with all channels claiming to follow the strategy. Zee’s announcement of extending prime time to 8 pm seems to have met with fierce competition. Star’s other two new shows, ‘Shaka Laka Boom Boom’ at 7:30 pm on weekdays starting 19th August, and ‘Sea Hawks’ at 7 pm on Saturdays starting 3rd August, strive to extend the prime time as well.
But what’s the take of media planners on the prime time expansion plans?
Comments Mona Jain of Loadstar Media, “There is a scope of prime-time expansion in the 7:30pm-8:00pm slot. However, bringing the prime time further down to 7:00pm would be quite tricky. Also, it would require a greater effort on a channel’s part to extend prime time in summers as opposed to winters, because that’s when people like to enjoy more outside.”
Bashab Sarkar, MD, Maximize, says, “Cricket match series draw huge audiences, even if they are in the 7:00pm slot. This proves the potential of the slot. So if you have extremely good programming, I think it is possible to extend the prime time to 7-8 pm. However, it seems difficult that the TVRs of this slot would ever match those of the peak prime time viewership.”
The fight for more viewers during prime time has come to the point where channels are struggling to expand the prime time duration. Whether this would happen, is something on which opinions differ. What would ultimately prove the possibility of the same, are the intensifying channel wars. Till then, wait and watch.