The end of 2004 didn't see Zee Cinema on high spirits with the channel taking a beat from rival MAX but 2005 has a different picture to present. TAM Media Research numbers show that the channel has shown a week-on-week increase and has gone on to displace number two channel Sony for the past four weeks.
According to TAM data for the CS 4+ in the Hindi speaking market for the period of October 2004 to December 2004, the average weekly channel share puts STAR Plus as the clear leader, distinctly followed by Sony TV and a fight between the third slot between the other channels like MAX, Zee TV and Zee Cinema. However, in the final week of 2004 the picture has changed. The credit can be divided between other channel losing some shares and Zee Cinema gaining some.
Looking at numbers, in week 1 Sony has 5.22 channel share as against Zee Cinema's 4.93 and MAX at 4.2 per cent. Going forward, Sony increases to a 5.43 per cent in week 2 but Zee Cinema overtakes it with a 5.82 per cent. Week 3 and 4 bring Sony on the second slot again and put Zee Cinema in the third slot but week 5 onwards, Zee Cinema continues its hold on the number two position. In week 5 the channel is 5.98 per cent, 5.92, 6.04 and 6.17 in week 6, 7 and 8 respectively. As against this, in these four weeks, Sony is on 5.44, 5.9, 5.46 and 5.48 channel shares.
"It is definitely good for the channel," said Nandini Dias, Vice President, Lodestar Media, "and for the purpose of a planner, they can push their case harder! These numbers are good, not that they can really be compared to a general entertainment channel like Sony as the reasons for using both channels is different. Sony is reach and Zee Cinema is an OTS builder."
Perhaps the fact that as far as channel shares are concerned, MAX being on a downslide from week 3 onwards has helped Zee Cinema some more. The channel has dipped from a 5.85 in week 3 to a 4.88, 4.26, 4.17 in the consequent weeks and then showed an increase in week 7 and 8 at 4.23 and 4.8 respectively - all weeks continuing to be below Zee Cinema.
"This low performance from other channels may have given Zee Cinema the boost," said Abbas Muni, General Manager, Carat Media (S&W), "May be because any one else is not doing anything else and Zee Cinema is a default movie channel, it has managed numbers."
He added, "As such the channel hasn't done anything to get these numbers. Even if it has done anything, it is lying low and the buzz isn't there."
The buzz might not be there but the numbers are. What has worked for Zee Cinema might not be an easy question but something sure has turned in the channel's favour in the last few weeks and whether the channel maintains it, is a good question. The channel officials and MAX officials, however, were not available for comments.
(Ratings calculated for full day numbers for all days of the week)