Star One is STAR India's attempt to provide the audience with differentiated programming that would prove to be tomorrow's television. The channel is making substantial progress in its course of action -- from new shows, branded content and in-programme product placement to converting the otherwise medium and light viewers to heavy viewers.
Performance so far
Citing data, Ajay Vidyasagar, Head, Marketing STAR India, said that what Star One delivers is, urban and upscale audience. TAM Media Research numbers of Star One's core TG, CS AB 15-34, in the Hindi speaking metros show that the channel is delivering steady numbers in these markets. While the channel is competing with the other channels to claim the fourth place among mass entertainment channels, the composition of the core Star One TG is noteworthy. TAM S Group data indicate that Star One 'heavy' viewers comprise three per cent new viewers, 34 per cent viewers who were 'medium' viewers prior to the launch of the channel and 20 per cent viewers who came in the category of 'light' viewers earlier.
"In effect, 54 per cent of our viewers were otherwise light on TV, which means we are delivering on our promise of bringing new eyeballs. The data prove that the time spent on TV by light viewers has gone up when they began watching Star One. These viewers' time on other channels has gone down," said Vidyasagar.
Kevin Vaz, EVP, Sales, STAR India, said that the channel is speaking to its advertiser beyond numbers as well. "We have conducted surveys of the quality of the Star One viewers and we are sharing it with our clients. An advantage we have with the channel is that the clients also constitute the TG that the channel is targeting and it doesn't take much to convince them."
Pointing out what the channel calls the 'Star One advantage', Vidyasagar said, "Given our channel's TG that constitutes largely of the urban and SEC AB audience, the advertisers get a perfect fit for their high-end products like Flat TV, Digicams, MMS-enabled cell phones and so on." Quoting IRS data, he explained that in case of camera/MMS-enabled phones where 78 per cent of the present users are from SEC AB, 33 per cent come from Mumbai and Delhi.
Replying to why the channel brought down its initial ad rates, Vaz said, "We have not reduced the rates. This is a new product, a premium one and advertisers have to experience it first. Hence we have invitational pricing and the advertiser response is fabulous. We have 65 to 70 clients on board and most have come back for repeat purchases at higher rates."
With branded content like 'Lakme Fashion House' and in-programme product placement as is seen on 'Remix' with Pepsi, the channel is allowing different kinds of revenue generation streams. "In case of these non-traditional methods, we want to establish long-terms relations with our clients and give them exclusive treatment. You will see more such examples on the channel very soon," said Vaz.
The channel has also planned a lot on the programming front. The new shows coming this month are 'Crazy Cool' and 'Apni Tuning Jamegi'. Ravi Menon, Vice President, Programming Star One, said, "Crazy Cool showcases 26 top creative directors from the advertising world. Unlike other shows on advertising, 'Crazy Cool' will focus on these highly creative individuals, their most popular campaigns and the making of these films. And as far as 'Apni Tuning Jamegi' is concerned, it is one special show that tells the world more about the Star One viewers."
Star One is also extending some of its existing properties to the ground level. The channel is launching a hunt for the best comedian in the country, tentatively called 'The Great Indian Comedian Hunt'. 'Remix' will see on-ground presence through 'Admissions to Maurya High'. The show will see the Remix band formed on the series as well. These initiatives are scheduled for the April period.
All this will be followed by the real big-ticket format show for the channel, 'The Apprentice'. This international success from Fremantle Media is planned for August. The channel is thrilled about its present initiatives like 'Fashion House' and 'Fusion Flicks' as well. "Fashion House is a daring show that opens doors of new age programming in India and the response it is generating is a good example of the market potential of such shows in future. And as for 'Fusion Flicks', we never had a negative attitude on movies or Bollywood. It's just that we have better platforms in the network for more populist titles," said Menon.
Is the channel worried with the fact that shows like 'Sarabhai...' and 'Khichdi...' are delivering for the channel, which can't really be termed as new age programming? "The differentiated shows are delivering their due and the numbers are as per expectations. More than ratings, the trends are encouraging.
The viewership patterns are crystallised and people are tuning in the hours when we would want them to watch it. But even in cases like Sarabhai, we have taken comedies to the next level. So these necessarily are shows that fit the USP of Star One," replied Menon.
Menon also share that the channel's 10 o'clock shows have taken an episodic approach than a linear route, "This is primarily because the Star One's viewer is a mobile person, whose lifestyle may not permit for regular and committed viewing."
The channel believes that they are on-track on all the fronts presently. What does this situation change into in the future, is a wait and watch.