This was not the first time that STAR India took a big chance in premiering an expensive, big-ticket title on its Hindi movie platform Star Gold vis-a-vis the Hindi general entertainment channel. The experiment however, appears to have worked for the channel this time.
According to TAM Media Research, for the C&S 4+ in the Hindi speaking markets, last week, ‘Singham’s premiere allowed the channel to garner 221 GRPs. The channel had a relative share of 37.21 per cent in comparison to the 27.88 per cent it had the previous week. Zee Cinema had 23.07 per cent and Max had 21.13 per cent.
While industry observers are still forming their opinion on Star Gold’s strategy to become a ‘reach’ platform, the one aspect that everyone agreed on was that ‘Singham’s 8.7 TVR would be a good number even for a Hindi GEC. The only two other movies that have delivered higher in recent times are ‘3 Idiots’ on Sony and ‘Dabangg’ on Colors. Star Gold has been very busy specifically in the last six months to get here, and it had done all the right steps in “packing the final punch”.
Step one was strengthening the distribution. Hemal Jhaveri, General Manager, Star Gold, told exchange4media, “Distribution, however, is one aspect that sees attention and investment every year.” And today, the channel’s distribution numbers are comparable to Hindi GECs.
The guiding philosophy came from understanding the viewer better, and the attempt to “enhance viewer experience”. The biggest complaint from viewers, according to Jhaveri, was the content and ad ratio on Hindi movie channels, and Star Gold at present is working with 12 minutes of commercial time in an hour, in comparison to the 15-17 minutes that Hindi movie channels were known for.
The content approach tied in back to the viewer too, and Star Gold had begun to see changes on that front even before the rebranding was executed. This was perhaps one reason why in the weeks preceding its re-launch too, Star Gold was delivering better numbers than its competitors.
Jhaveri informed, “We invested in understanding the pure benefit for a viewer in watching a Hindi movie channel. We were the first ones to go from four movies a week to five movies a week, which some of our competition began doing now. And now we are at six movies a week. We cannot negate the fact that we are all chasing eyeballs and you need good content for that.”
While the channel has titles such as ‘Bodyguard’, ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’, ‘Bol Bachchan’ and ‘RockStar’ amongst others lined up, can it sustain this kind of content inflow at a reasonable frequency? Jhaveri cautioned here, “We must understand that when someone talks about a movie on a movie channel, it is about buying the rights, so the supply depends on how the rights flow out. But for us, apart from ensuring, we have as much of fresh content as possible, we also work on titles that people would view on movie channels.”
He explained that Star Gold acknowledged that blockbusters did not necessarily mean great TV content and that the channel had a strict content filter. He said, “For instance, suspense thrillers may not do well on television, so we focus on action comedy, family drama and so on. No doubt it is a tough balance to get, but that is where our energies are focussed.”
The media buyer and advertiser industry still considers movie channels as a frequency platform, but according to Jhaveri, Star Gold was now a strong reach platform already, and the way forward would see it focus further on this proposition.