“English GECs have created multiple prime time slots”
The consumption of shows in the English GE space has gone up in the past few years, especially among the youth, says Rasika Tyagi of Star India
The English general entertainment space today has come of age. Though Hindi GECs still continue to occupy a major chunk of the pie, English GEC players are striving hard to change the equation and are undertaking unique programming strategies in order grab more eyeballs.
According to Rasika Tyagi, Senior VP, English Programming, Star India, post digitisation the English entertainment genre has shown growth in its channel share and reach, with a healthy contribution coming from FX and Fox Crime.
In conversation with exchange4media, Tyagi talks about the evolution of the English entertainment genre in India, programming strategies of FX and Fox Crime and the challenges that lie post digitisation. Excerpts:
How has the English entertainment genre evolved in India? Please elaborate.
In most markets globally, English entertainment shows are aired only once a week. Thus, a typical season for any show runs longer. However, in India we have been habituated to watching soaps Monday to Friday. A longest running show on an English general entertainment channel does not last for more than three to four months; thus, the effort to build shows and characters is constant.
English entertainment genre has managed to create multiple prime time slots where viewers tune in to their favourite sitcoms and drama shows. The consumption of these shows has gone up in the past few years, especially with the youth. Audiences today are more aware of the latest shows globally, and want to view it almost at a similar time here in India. The choice of English shows is no longer restricted to sitcoms but the preference has also shifted to reality shows and drama.
Are you happy with the niche that FX and Fox Crime have created for themselves? How have the channels contributed to the augmentation of the genre growth?
Post digitisation, the English entertainment genre has shown growth in its channel share and reach, with a healthy contribution coming from FX and Fox Crime.
FX and Fox Crime are India’s fastest growing channels in the English entertainment space today. They have demonstrated phenomenal performance since the beginning of this year by surpassing competition and gaining leadership position for Star India in the English GE category.
FX stands for ‘The Edge of Entertainment’. It is bold, provocative and edgy in its content with a line-up of shows such as Desperate Housewives, Harpers Island, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Call Me Fitz and Rescue Me. These five shows are a part of the top ten most watched shows within the English general entertainment universe. Besides remarkable time spent, the channel share of FX has also outperformed AXN and Zee Café across digital homes in seven metros with 25-44 SEC AB audiences. Its channel share is also greater than Comedy Central and Big CBS channels. FX has also shown the highest growth in reach within the genre post digitisation.
Fox Crime is a dream-come-true if you are a fan of the crime and investigation genre. The channel has the best of new and classic crime series. Like FX, Fox Crime has also managed to overtake AXN and Big CBS channels with respect to time spent in seven metros across CS and digital with 25-44 SEC AB audiences.
What are some of the challenges you see ahead in the genre given the advent of digitisation?
We see digitisation as more of an opportunity to grow further in the category, with Star World as a distinct leader, and FX and Fox crime being the fastest growing channels. We are all set to establish Star India as a leading network for English entertainment. This also gives us an opportunity to grow the category further as the growth coming from competition will be limited. With our current line-up of shows on FX and Fox crime, we are confident to be able to pull this off.
Describe the core target audience for FX and Fox Crime?
On a qualitative level, an FX viewer is someone who likes an unrestricted, no holds-barred portrayal of life, someone who demands more than just fun entertainment; while a Fox Crime viewer is someone who is drawn to crime, investigation, mystery and suspense.
With the operations of both these channels moving to India, it only makes it better for us to show the audiences what they like.
In the recent weeks, FX has grown from an average weekly reach of 506,000 viewers to 633,000 viewers CS 15 plus AB in seven metros (Time period wk 48 2012 – wk 51 2012 vs. wk 52 2012 – wk 3 2013).
Fox Crime today reaches out to an average of 702,000 viewers every week amongst CS 15 plus AB in seven metros and is amongst the top four channels in terms of reach (Time period wk 48 2012 – wk 3 2013).
The response has been positive and FX content has high affinity amongst SEC A audiences, residing in the metros. FX has grown from an average weekly viewership of 0.38 GRPs (wk 48 – wk 51 2012) to 1.39 GRPs (wk 52 2012 – wk 3 2013) in recent times.
What are your key marketing focus areas to create buzz about the channels’ content?
The promotional plans for FX and Fox crime are mainly skewed towards on-air communication on these channels. Social media support plays a big role in informing fans and driving conversations about some of their favourite shows on our channels.
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