Mass channel weekends have shown some good numbers as seen in the recent initiatives from STAR Plus and Sony Entertainment Television. The Saturday show, 'Jodee Kamaal Ki', and the additional property created around STAR Parivaar Awards, 'Barati vs Gharati', has delivered well for STAR Plus as has 'Shukra Hai Shukravaar Hai' for Sony.
TAM Media Research shows that for the CS 4 + in the Hindi speaking markets, 'STAR Parivaar Barati vs Gharati' has thrown a 7.17 in the Saturday 8.00 pm block and 'Jodee Kamaal Ki', which takes the Saturday 9.00 pm block and had opened at 5.44, has grown to give 8.57 in this week. The 'Shukra Hai Shukravaar Hai' initiative, which launched on March 10, 2006, was a mixture of new and old shows. Of these 'Deal Ya No Deal' threw a 1.24, 'Fear Factor India' opened at 4.6, 'C.I.D.' gave a 3.14 and 'Kandy Floss' has opened at a 1.5, which as per media experts, given the fact that it is at 11.00 pm, is not a bad number for Sony at all.
Speaking on the STAR numbers, Divya Radhakrishnan, Vice-President, The Media Edge, said, "Both 7.17 and 8 are good numbers. But what should be taken into account is that STAR Parivaar is a one-off number as in it is an event and from that point of delivery this is indeed a good number. But in the case of 'Jodee…', this is a series and just looking at one episode isn't right. It sure has opened to a good number, but what happens from here is a wait and watch."
Manoj Malkani, Associate Media Director, Carat Media, added, "Jodee…' has grown well, but it is not so much of a format driven show as it is a celebrity driven show. Who comes on the episode matters and pretty much decides what the number would be."
Shailja Kejriwal, Senior Creative Director, STAR India, is happy with the numbers and gives the channel's point of view here. She said, "This is a new format and has absolutely no precedent we can base our expectations on. We deliberately kept the show out of gratification factors or Herculean tasks and just wanted to show relationship between real life couples and then we added the celebrity quotient. Indeed much has been added and deleted from the show in the course of the shooting itself – it's pretty much an on-set learning in this case."
What Kejriwal is happy about is the fact that the new shows have allowed the channel to hold on to its weekend audience even after 'KBC 2' has gone off-air. "The shows we put on air then like 'Ba, Bahoo…' and 'Shanno…' are delivering very well for the channel and the steps we are taking are also throwing good results. I think we have more than made up for the loss of 'KBC 2'."
Experts tend to agree on that one with Kejriwal. What they also think is positive for mass channels is Sony's initiative of 'Shukra Hai…' paying off. Malkani said, "'Fear Factor India' has opened to very good numbers and the format of the show is great. You can expect the audience to keep coming back to the show."
'Fear Factor India' is an Endemol format and this is some more good news for Endemol India. "Unlike a 'Jodee…', where the format really didn't have much to offer, 'Fear Factor India' is like say a 'Nach Baliye'," Radhakrishnan said, adding, "The audience can enjoy the format – celebrity or no celebrity."
Will this in any form help Sony in getting back its distinct No. 2 position? "They have no choice but to take initiatives like these and more if they have to stay on any slot! In the last year, the channel has taken a real beating and even the properties that were looking good have lost in deliveries. They have to take such steps to come back in reckoning and yes, this is a good beginning for the new programming strategy that the channel has embarked on. Let's just see how it rolls out."
Malkani opined on similar lines. Where Sony goes from here is indeed a topic of interest for many. The strategy of old and new on its Friday has worked for the channel and how Sony plays the other days is an interesting watch.