On December 31 expect viewers to stay glued to their tellys. Along with the usual yearend potpourri programming, this time the real battle is Hollywood vs Bollywood. While Sony will air blockbuster Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gam (K3G), Star Network has slotted Titanic, dubbed in Hindi, on Star Gold and James Bond Movies on Star Movies. Star Plus will hope that the 'bahus' from Balaji Soaps engage viewers.
Star Plus and Zee TV would air their new year specials from 11 pm onwards on 31st December. Star Plus is bringing Balaji soap-stars under one roof, while ZEE refuses to let the curtain rise yet. It, however, would air Zee Golden Bollywood Awards from 8pm -11pm.
Sony, meanwhile, plans to have its share of events on 29th and 30th December. On 31st December, the channel would be airing its prize catch - Kabhie Khushi Kabhi Gam. It is also running a contest during the movie broadcast to lure more viewers, and hence more advertisers.
ZEE and Star are adopting a flanking strategy - Star Gold will be showing, Titanic dubbed in Hindi, again a first timer on television. Star movies will premier The World is not Enough at 9 pm and show Bond girls forever, at 11:00 p.m. Zee Cinema will air Gadar.
Is Sony's K3G, given its massive acquisition cost and hence a higher spot rate, a good media option?
According to Sunil Lulla, Executive Vice President, SET India, it is. Says he, "We have roped in a number of blue-chip sponsors such as HLL, P&G, Jeeva beauty soap, Krack cream and Pan Parag to name a few, and will most certainly continue to add more advertisers". He adds, "The shows on Sony Entertainment Television provide the marketers a great opportunity to get their brands to 'tango' with their consumers. The three big marquee programmes under the 'Come to the Party' branding, provide the advertisers a unique opportunity to communicate to viewers."
Media experts tend to agree with Lulla.
Says Amit Ray, VP Mudra - "People will be definitely interested in watching K3G. It would be the highest draw. Titanic might also do fairly well. As far as Gadar is concerned, it has been shown umpteen times. However, any money that ZEE gets by airing it would be additional profit".
Andre Purushottam, MD, StarCom agrees without any hesitation, "K3G is creating a lot of excitement among media planners and advertisers. It is expected to get very good viewership". However, he adds, "All the movies being aired on 31st would get good ratings, if they are promoted well. Such programmes do bring temporary spikes in ratings."
Media experts also believe that new-year eve programme is a one-night wonder, and hence the interest of the planners and advertisers to a large extent depends on the sort of promotion space the programme and sponsors would be given on a television network.
"What value the movies would bring to the advertisers," says Mallikarjundas, Manager Media and Research, Asian Paints, "depends on the way they get promoted. Advertisers would not look at 31st December only, but at salience over a long period of time. If the advertiser gets a 20-25 days window though promos on the channel in good TVR programmes, it would benefit the clients".