Will it create a spark? Or will it fizzle away? What will be the fate of Sahara’s latest offering - Aroona Irani’s Zameen Se Aasman Tak? The channel deliberately launched the much-hyped Malini Iyer as a prelude to Zameen Se Aasman Tak, so that the show could ride on Sridevi’s star status. Will the strategy work?
As per Sahara spokesperson Satish Menon, “We have deliberately positioned the show in such a way so that it can ride on Malini Iyer’s success. We think that Malini Iyer will deliver in the long run and we plan to utilize the same.” However, TAM ratings indicate that while there was some amount of sampling on the day Malini opened, the numbers are dwindling. Would this have any bearing on Zameen Se Aasman Tak?
Prasanth Kumar, Associate Media Director, McCann Erickson “Malini Iyer has little or no consequences on the fortunes of Zameen Se Aasman Tak. The channel may have planned to use it as a launch pad, but ratings would arrive only if the content was good enough. Moreover, they are receiving enough publicity from the marketing and outdoor. So if there aren’t too many people sampling Malini, it would make no difference on the promotion of Zameen.”
Kumar believes that the show appears to be a tad different from the run-of-the-mill concepts. He states, “If the story is about a natural disaster and its consequences on individuals and relationships, I suppose that it would be a lot different from what is available on screen. Since the prime time band already has some very strong contenders on Star and Sony, the idea was to bring in some clutter-breaking programmes that would fetch ratings in the long run. Sahara is working towards building a strong band in its nighttime slot and Zameen Aasman just might make a difference since it provides differentiated content. But what’s more interesting is the Amitabh Bachchan starrer that the show plans to bring along. This show would make audiences sit up. The channel needs to bring in more of shows, which would encourage involvement levels and stickiness in viewing. Malini Iyer and Zameen Aasman is the first step towards it.”
A senior official at Mindshare asserts, “One small show isn’t going to make much of a difference to Sahara’s overall programming. Planners are hardly bothered about a smalltime show such as Zameen Se Aasman Tak. They examine the overall bunch of programmes on the channel. If Sahara needs to be taken seriously, it needs to totally revamp the prime time slot, place a variety of programmes that would command attention and allow viewers to stick on the channel. Stickiness, is what, we are talking about.”
He adds, “I suppose, to a certain extent, Malini Iyer has succeeded in creating quite a hype around itself and is doing a fairly good job when it comes to drawing the attention of the audiences. But Sahara’s problem is not pertaining to sampling or the initial spark of interest, its problem lies in encouraging habitual and long-term viewing. There has to be content available, which would coax viewers to return for more.”
Rome wasn’t built in a day. And Sahara is slowly and steadily roping in shows, which are different from the household politics available on screen. While experimentation and hype is the name of the game, the channel seems to be encouraging plenty by bringing in shows such as the Raveena Tandon produced Sahib Biwi and Ghulam and the Amitabh Bachchan starrer. Eventually, the results ought to speak for themselves.