The week has been a big one for Zee TV. The channel’s music format show ‘Saregamapa Challenge’ has given it an 8 plus TRP and even a new show like ‘Rakhi – Ek atoot rishta’ has given the channel 2 plus TRPs --- in all taking Zee TV’s graph much closer to Star Plus in the target C&S 4+ in the Hindi speaking markets (HSM). If the TG was made slightly more specific to females, Zee TV is ahead of Star Plus on the all-day weekly channel shares in the HSM, and this is an unfamiliar experience for the hitherto unbeatable leader.
Star India has been losing its share continually for months now, while Zee TV has been gaining. This has accelerated the process of the gaps decreasing between the two channels. One week’s ratings may not make Zee TV a leader, but this week is an indication of the fluctuating numbers in store for Hindi GECs. Fragmentation is a reality, and is going to further worsen with the launch of at least six Hindi GECs.
Voicing this, TME’s Vice President, Divya Radhakrishnan, stated, “On the overall, yes, Zee TV has very good ratings this week, and they are only 10 per cent lower than Star Plus on the mass TG. Normally, subsequent seasons have not done so well for shows on the other channels, but ‘Saregamapa Challenge’ has defied this and this has worked for Zee TV.”
“However, the bigger thing to look out for is that soon we are getting into a scenario with more players and far more choices. This scene of two players will not exist for a long time. With new channels, somebody will lose shares. Usually it is the leader, but now with a thin line separating the leader from the number two, both channels could lose shares. You really don’t know how this turns out,” added Radhakrishnan.
Starcom Worldwide’s Furture Works’ Dinesh Rathore seconds this view. He said, “In any case, media is getting more fragmented and there are more GECs coming --- Zee itself is launching a second channel. We may not have a clear number one in the segment anymore. The ratings would fluctuate depending on the programming. This change is a reflection of change in the audience’s appetite. If the new channels serve something better, there is nothing to stop them from getting the eyeballs.”
STAR India has taken cognizance of the changing numbers. The channel’s spokesperson said, “We regularly monitor the figures and are in the process of launching certain initiatives, and are very confident of Star Plus’ massive consumer franchise and continuing to maintain its position of India’s premier Hindi entertainment channel.”
Zee TV, on the other hand, is clear that newer initiatives will take the channel even higher. Tarun Mehra, Head, Marketing, Zee TV, explained, “The core Zee TV audiences are women. They have shifted their loyalty from Star to Zee, and the rest are following along with them. Especially, with more shows which aim at broad-basing the audiences, Zee TV is aiming at eating up shares across TGs to regain the overall leadership.”
On what is working for the channel, Mehra said, “Having understood the audiences, and their preferences in this evolving time and day that much the better.”
As media experts put it, newcomers like NDTV Imagine and INX Media are serious contenders as well, and needless to say, Zee would be competing with itself once it launches ZeeNext. The road ahead may be exciting and promising for those who dare to compete in the Hindi GEC space, but it sure is going to get tougher and rougher than ever before.