While Sony and Star are busy strengthening their weekend programming, Zee has decided to change the ground rules of weekend programming itself! Daily primetime serials on the channel will now start on Sunday and continue till Wednesday. While, Thursday will be the day of blockbuster movies. Considering the fare dished out by channels on Sundays - people might prefer to watch daily soaps instead of umpteenth runs of Bollywood movies.
Though we became aware of the development on Saturday evening, and not very many media people were available for comment on this development, those we could talk to, were divided on the issue. Said Jasmine Sorabji, Senior Vice President, Mediacom India, "It is definitely a positive move on Zee's part. Talking around I have found that mostly people are looking at it very positively. It is in a way revival of a species." Media planners believe that if the programme content is good, Zee would definitely gain from starting its dailies a day prior to other channels. Says Sorabji, "They are trying to get Sunday band by bringing daily shows there. The loyalty for the shows will definitely grow as people might come on to it on a Sunday and get hooked to it."
On Thursday, the channel would be showing blockbuster movies - and the list is, reportedly inspiring and comprises of blockbusters. The list even contains some yet to be released movies. Here the channel is completely depending on the strength of its movies for the viewers to leave daily soaps on other channels and watch its movies. A careful gameplan this. If they miss out on the last day of dailies on other channels as they are lured by good movies running on Zee, and on the other side, they offer their dailies a day in advance as compared to other channels.
However, the plan to a large extent depends on to what extent do people really enjoy watching Zee soaps - how interested they are in the storyline. Says Amit Ray, Vice President, Media, Mudra communication, "I am not aware of this change being brought about by Zee. I am sure the strategy will be a result of a lot of research conducted by the channel. However, ultimately it boils down to the subject matter - does your watching India-Pakistan cricket test match depend on what time slot it is going to be aired?"
Till about a couple of years back, prime time on TV got over at 9.30, now people watch TV till around 11-11.30 at night - reason being - they like the programmes being slotted there - specially on Star. Now will Zee's change in programming once again change the TV viewing habits of people remains to be seen. As Ray puts it, "It all depends on how strong their programmes are."