STAR Plus, a leader as far as television entertainment goes, has seen a lot of action in the year going by – from the launch of two siblings: Star Utsav and StarOne – both in the mass entertainment space, to launch of a number of new shows and salvos from competition.
Taking TAM Media Research’s data here, if we look at the whole-day channel shares of mass entertainment channels, STAR Plus has the lion’s share with 60 per cent, while the closest rival, Sony claims as much as 20 per cent. If we look at prime time – the gap increases some more. STAR Parivaar delivered the ratings of 14 in C&S 4+, and if we look more recent numbers, ‘Main Hoon Na’ created waves by delivering a rating of 10.76 in the given market and TG.
Sameer Nair, COO, STAR India, is pretty happy with the Network’s performance and emphasises the fact that the flagship channel has maintained the leadership position and in style. Says he, “We have had a pretty good year in 2004. There was a bit of excitement on the frontier, but by and large everything is intact. Our shows have continued to perform well and are clear leaders in their slots. We have grown in absolute numbers – even if you look at the new shows launched this year — all the new shows we have launched are leaders in their slot and have carved out their positions — ‘Kesar’, ‘Dekho Magar Pyaar Se’, ‘K-Street Pali Hill’, ‘Kalchakra’, ‘Khull Ja Sim Sim’ and ‘Hello Dollie’. ‘Parivaar’ too delivered real high ratings.”
But hasn’t there been a marginal decline in the TRPs of K serials? Is it a cause of concern for the channel at the moment? Nair shrugs off the suggestion, “I have always believed that every decline or slight decline is in context of expanding markets. It is a good thing that the market is expanding. Latest numbers say that 10 million TV sets were added to the market in 2004. About 60 per cent of them would be new TV households. If the TV manufacturers are pleased with their performance, we have cause to be happy too.”
He further elucidates, “As the choices increase, options will be experimented with. And that is going to be the case with television for the next five years. Everyone is trying to capture in most cases the same eyeball – and get its share from the same 24 hours. Cable has reached 45 million homes, 85 million homes are TV homes and then there are another 175 million or more that do not have television yet. Till 2014, the market would be in expansion mode and it would be only then, that one could really talk about the decline. Each day new viewers and households come into the ambit of television.”
The audience is indeed looking at experimenting and a few are flirting with other genres. As for mass entertainment – not much of a switch from one channel to the other seems to be happening. However, is STAR Plus taking note of the competition’s delivery and performance? States Nair, “If you look at it from the typical competitive activity – our most engaging competitor for the year was Sony. There was little bit of excitement as they launched three-four new shows themselves. If you have some interesting competition, everyone is on his toes. Having said that, the activity has not really impacted STAR Plus.”
Cable and Satellite television in India is 12 years old, and to quote Nair, “It is just stepping into its teens. And the scenario now would become much more competitive. It is after all growing up.”