&TV, the Hindi GEC channel from the Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) stable completed one year of its operations recently. In order to strengthen the weekend slot, the channel has announced the launch of their new dance reality show- ‘So You Think You Can Dance’, which will be a 25 episode series and will be aired every Saturday & Sunday at 8:30 pm.
Weekend space in the Hindi GEC segment is going to get more heated with the launch of the Kapil Sharma Show on Sony on April 23rd. Colors already has their comedy show ‘Comedy Nights Bachao’ and ‘Comedy Nights Live’ during the weekends. Star Plus has ‘Diya Aur Bati Hum’ and ‘Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai’ and Zee TV has ‘Kumkum Bhagya’ and ‘SaReGaMaPa’ running in the 9-10 pm weekend slot. It will be interesting to see, if &TV’s ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ can get good ratings for the channel.
Getting international formats to India is not something new for the channel. It has previously acquired rights of shows like The Voice, Who’s Asking, Deal or No Deal. In the last one year, the channel has built a strong presence across genres- ranging from horror, comedy, mythology, reality shows to drama. Speaking on which genre works best for the channel, Rajesh Iyer, Business Head, &TV said, “It is not about which genre works best for us and which doesn’t. For the audience, we have been dishing out variety- whether it is a singing or a dance reality show. We think it is for the audience to pick and choose.”
Speaking about the increase in sponsors interest, he elaborated, “The advertisers have been extremely supportive about &TV. They have been extremely gracious and if you see any of our shows it is very well sponsored.” According to reports, there has been a 25% hike in ad rates of the channel as compared to last year.
Journey so far...
In the last two years a number of new GEC’s have been launched. Multi-Screen Media (MSM) came out with its third GEC- Sony Pal, ZEEL launched Zindagi and India’s first channel based on Indian history, mythology and folklore --Epic also got launched.
In such a cluttered market it was difficult for &TV to stand out because the mind space of the consumers was already occupied. However, the channel went on to have a successful start, as compared to the other Hindi GECs such as Star One, Imagine, Colors, Zee Anmol, Zindagi, Sony Pal and Epic channel, in their first week of their launch.
Commenting on how the first year was for the channel, Iyer highlights, “It was an exciting journey as far as &TV is concerned. We had a great launch last year and in the last 12 months we have spent on consolidating and building our fundamental blocks- whether it is weekday or weekend programming. Our aim was to build the fundamental blocks of the brand right. We are not in a T20 match, we are playing a test match, so we have to construct our innings and that is what we were focusing on. We are fairly satisfied with what we have achieved.”
The idea behind launching the channel was to cater to the section of the audience that is looking for fresh and relevant content. Having Shah Rukh Khan right in the initial phase, who was roped in by &TV for their show ‘India- Poochega- Sabse Shaana Kaun’, helped them grab the required eyeballs.
The channel was promoted across television genres within the Zee network and on other networks too. Music and youth entertainment channels were also used in its promotion. It also has a huge fan base across the digital platforms, where all the properties are promoted.
The channel tasted success with the help of strong and differentiated content. Shows like ‘Ganga’, ‘Santoshi Maa’, ‘Begusarai’ and ‘Bhabiji Ghar Pe Hain’ have been doing well for the channel.
Even though the channel is not among the top 10 Hindi GEC channels as far as the BARC ratings are concerned, but it claims to be consistently reaching 102 million viewers week on week. The channel has also seen a 54% growth in viewership since its launch and 70% increase in weekday Prime Time and has 100+ GRPs in HSM Metros. Along with good content and robust marketing, a strong distribution has played a crucial role in consolidating the position of the channel.