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The big thing is who owns the agenda of entertainment: Uday Shankar

16-April-2009
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The big thing is who owns the agenda of entertainment: Uday Shankar

The week 15 data from TAM Media Research has driven many to say that ‘Star’s supremacy ends’ or ‘Star’s monopoly is finally broken’. The nine-year genre leader Star Plus, too, has a view on the upheaval that the entry of Colors has created in the ratings scenario, and the subsequent changes in the overall television dynamics. In an exclusive conversation with exchange4media, STAR India CEO Uday Shankar said that while Colors had to be congratulated for its overall achievements, one week did not make a difference. Shankar is of the opinion that the genre itself is evolving and there are other larger changes that would be of more significance in time to come.

Commenting on this week’s numbers, he explained, “In a hand to hand combat, both sides would take a hit. Colors can be credited for the fact that in six months of the channel’s launch, it played a role in opening the fight for the top slot. In the last few weeks, however, the difference between the channel scores has been anything from 1 GRP and 90 GRPs. These numbers are more statistics than anything else. From that view, there is nothing exceptional in this week’s ratings.”

Shankar said that Star Plus had its course of action charted and that it would stay on that course. He pointed out, “Even in the current week’s ratings, nine out of the 10 top shows are from STAR. The channel has been consistently reinventing itself in the last many months. There was a time when people thought that STAR could do nothing without Balaji shows, and now we have put together many new properties that did well and we are further building a robust pipeline. Other channels would also be doing that, but you cannot do that by reacting; you can do that by following what you have planned.”

A new definition of ‘Leadership’

Most of what was read at the release of the ratings on April 15, 2009 was about Star’s leadership status changing. For Shankar, the industry was at a cusp where the leadership definition itself had to be revisited. He explained that so far, leadership was a phenomenon for a more static structure in this genre, where there was some acceptance of where a certain player was. The market has come a long way now from that and the last few months, where the difference between the channels have been a few GRPs, is further an indication of that fact.

Shankar is of the opinion that the genre is evolving. He explained, “You see this in other specialist genres already – there are leaders by certain aspects and leadership status can be property or even event driven. For the Hindi general entertainment channels, the big question that needs to be settled is who would own the agenda of entertainment. Even now, Hindi entertainment continues to set the trends for other regional channels. The bigger race is about who sets the agenda or is the change agent.”

Many industry experts that exchange4media spoke to stated that the challenge had only just begun for Colors and that it was not easy to maintain a lead in this kind of a genre. However, it was not easy to attain the No. 1 slot either. Irrespective of the stated rules and usually seen trends, the Hindi general entertainment genre has, in fact, reinvented itself and has gone back to being unpredictable.

Also read:

Colors overtakes Star Plus this week, finally

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