Eye on IPL, GECs shore up content line-up

GECs have never had it easy – from creating new time slots to bringing in compelling content – it is always a struggle to retain and attract eyeballs. This, combined with IPL3 set to take over TV viewing during most of March and April 2010, is seeing GECs upping the ante on lining up fresh content.

e4m by Khushboo Tanna
Updated: Feb 4, 2010 7:30 AM
Eye on IPL, GECs shore up content line-up

GECs have never had it easy – from creating new time slots to bringing in compelling content – it is always a struggle to retain and attract eyeballs.

The collapse of the K-brigade has seen the fiction content opening up to an array of ‘social’ topics ranging from child marriage, female foeticide, to child trafficking. Colors managed to shake up the saas-bahu warfare on TV with new story lines that was lapped up by an audience weary of jaded content in most GECs.

With the third season of Indian Premier League (IPL) getting underway from March 12, 2010, a huge chunk of the TV viewing audience is expected to tune in to the matches that would take up most of March and April.

Hence, the GECs are making all out efforts to launch new shows to retain viewer interest and beef up their content line-up. In fact, it is learnt that close to 12 new shows have been lined up for launch by March 2010 on various GECs. Currently, the channels are reluctant to share details about these new shows even as they are giving final touches to them.

However, industry sources are willing to share more. For instance, Star Plus has already started promos for a show called ‘Behenein’. According to sources, the show has been produced by J D Majethia and is a story about four sisters. Another show lined up is ‘Do Saheliyan’ (working title), which is about two friends and will mark Sudha Chandran’s comeback to the small screen. Other shows that will be launched in the next couple of months include, ‘Dil Hai Chotta Sa’ (working title), where Rajesh Kumar is playing a lead role of an overweight man with some obsessions; ‘Paheli’ is a story set in Gujarat and is about a mystery that looms large in the life of the female protagonist.

exchange4media spoke to a few media planners on their views regarding how the upcoming shows would affect the ratings of these channels.

Hariharan (Vishy) Vishwanath, National Head of Buying, Mediaedge:cia pointed out that the biggest change these GECs would face would be during the IPL tournament. “Colors will still continue to be the No. 1 channel, but it will lose out more viewers to IPL as compared to the other GECs,” he said, adding that IPL would also cause the gap between the top three channels to narrow.

It may be noted that NDTV Imagine and SAB TV have been eyeing the No. 5 spot for a very long time. According to Vishy, “NDTV Imagine has a better chance to be on the No. 5 spot as it has given a lot of momentum to the programmes after the Turner deal.”

Kartik Iyer, Managing Director, Carat Media, noted that at this point, it was a little difficult to say which channel would be affected the most by the launch of these new shows. “As far as NDTV Imagine and SAB are concerned, NDTV Imagine could have a little higher rating with its reality shows,” he added.

Manas Mishra, Head, Mudra Connext, felt that the primary reason the fiction shows worked was that they transcended timelines and because they had a hint of reality in them. For example, when the level of dramatisation in saas- bahu shows went up, there was a decline in the viewership. “Fiction shows that bring in some dose of reality are becoming common,” Mishra said.

He further pointed out that these fiction shows transcended different ages and hence, they appealed to audiences of all ages. He cited the example of ‘Uttaran’ to support his point. Mishra observed, “Earlier, the viewer used to have channel loyalty as they had a certain comfort level with the channel, but now the viewer is just loyal to the programme and not the channel. In that sense, it is difficult to point out which channel will lead the pack.”

As far as NDTV Imagine and SAB TV are concerned, Mishra, too, felt that NDTV Imagine had an upper hand as SAB TV was part of a larger group, which looked after Sony Entertainment Channel as well. “So, the ability to put money in both these ventures might be limited. Whereas, NDTV Imagine now has new owners, so there will be more money to invest in new shows,” he pointed out.

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