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How often do we pause and ponder about industry issues that have a bearing beyond just our rigmaroles? Share insights that can further the common understanding? Or, at the very least, point at things that need to be set right. View Point - an exchange4media platform, will fill this void and become a source of understanding, action and perhaps some inspiration.

100 GRP: New benchmark or overrated myth?


Indranil Datta, Vice President - Knowledge, Mudra RADAR

The rarefied air enjoyed by Star Plus, Zee TV and SET has met with asphyxiating elements recently. The entry of some potentially strong players has seen a whirl of dynamic activity. For years the triumvirate ruled with gusto, Star Plus leading with élan. Although the gap between SET and the preceding two continued to increase, no one attempted to upset the applecart till these recent entries. The new brigade primarily consists of NDTV Imagine, a GEC from the increasing bouquet of NDTV; 9X from INX Media and the "most impressive newcomer award" winner Viacom 18''s Colors. The award by the way is courtesy those amazing GRP figures that has the industry in a tizzy.

What exactly is this GRP?
GRP is the sum of ratings achieved by a specific media vehicle or schedule. It represents the percentage of the target audience reached by a programme. It helps advertisers locate their preferred channel for exposure. The existing players in the GEC market have been perennial giants. Lacking the volume or the time period to cultivate loyalty, the new channels, forefronted by 9X, have hit upon an excellent strategy. They have indulged in brand repositioning by coyly attracting the attention away from the existing rank hierarchy into a level field of channels with 100-plus GRPs. It was purely a psychological ploy, but this apparent commoditization has definitely generated a buzz.

On the brighter side though, this fragmentation has provided opportunities to clients who now have alternatives other than the top 2 channels. They have been provided with a chance to get the same ''reach'' (%) by showcasing their products on the new entrants who have relatively much lesser rates.

Colors Vs 9X
Now let us (with TAM''s aid) get into some numbers. The speed with which Colors breached the "100-GRP barrier" would make sprinter Usain Bolt blush. In just the second week of launch, Colors, riding on the hugely popular Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi, registered a GRP of 118. The game show''s conclusion in the 33rd week niggled the figures a bit (a climb down from 138 to 129) but Big Boss 2''s voyeuristic appeal is sure to set things right.

Now these figures are mind-boggling. Let us therefore take a critical view. A bit of digging shows that these amazing shares are quite largely due to repeat telecasts. An astonishing 84% of the total amount of time Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi was on air was repeats. The GRPs, though not commensurate, are 45% of the total GRPs for the show. Hence, unraveling the mysterious yarn of 100 GRPs, we first meet with a definitive masque. 9X''s story is a bit different. It reached a zenith of 100+ in the 21st week. Its figures have dropped since. 9X though scaled the peak because of the Mythology genre (Jai Maa Vaishno Devi and Alif Laila). The fluctuating fortunes of these two programmes have been the principle contributory element.

How important is the numbers game?
If planning was arithmetic, then clients could gain as much leverage from advertising in Movie channels. Both MAX and Zee Cinema regularly have GRPs in excess of 150. If the GRPs were the decisive variable, one should have benefited from advertising in a host of sub-100 channels, thereby accumulating their score. The GRPs provided by the top 2 channels can be matched by the next five (SET, Colors, NDTV Imagine, 9X, Star One.) Moreover, the rates of advertising will be far less in the latter set. The effective reach is in fact more in the lagging group (see graph). But the qualitative aspect cannot be discounted. Brand relevance demands that household products attract the viewership of housewives (who are the bulk audience for the serials on Star Plus and Zee TV.) So a client advertising the said product might not find his desired audiences in an action show like Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi.

Moreover, advertising in GECs is programme-led compared to title-led advertising on movie channels. A caustic view might thus render the uselessness of this "100 GRPs" myth. But Colors and 9X should be given their due for their strong performance and their shrewd strategizing.



Top 2: Star Plus, Zee TV
Next 5: SET, Colors, NDTV Imagine, 9X, Star One
Source: TAM
TG: CS 4+
Market: HSM
Period: Weeks 31-34

Implications
As part of strategy, clients may wish to utilize the lower costs of repeat telecasts. As mentioned above, repeats garner a decently good viewership. Moreover, recently channels have been engaging in profusive showcasing of certain genres. Mythological/Fantasy serials are the most obvious example. According to the number of programmes per channel, NDTV Imagine leads with 4; Star Plus and 9X have 2 each. This genre contributed 39% of the total GRP for NDTV Imagine (Weeks 31-34) Hence, it is obvious that the channels are cashing in on the popularity via a volume outlook. Clients can associate themselves with a genre and thereby gain.

In conclusion, let me maintain that this viewpoint is not aimed at challenging the trends. It merely tries to examine the validity of their announcements and their implications. The industry has warmed up to the new players because of their ingenuity. That is commendable. However, as I have maintained, the numbers can and often give a veiled view.
 
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