Hathway switch off adds to Sony's rating woes

Hathway Cable had taken Sony TV off the prime time band over payment issues, causing the channel to lose viewership and hence, declining ratings. Also, its fiction shows are not performing as expected, reveal sources

e4m by Abhinav Trivedi
Updated: Sep 4, 2013 9:25 AM
Hathway switch off adds to Sony's rating woes

Industry experts, media analysts and senior media planners, we spoke to, shared that the ongoing dispute of Sony TV with Hathway Cable and Broadband Services over payment issues, has resulted in the downfall of Sony TV in the prime time rankings.

Experts revealed that Hathway Cable had taken Sony TV off the prime time band in the last few weeks. Multiple sources have confirmed this fact.

Interestingly, Sony TV’s ratings saw a downfall over the past few weeks. The channel was taken off the prime time band from markets such as Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore primarily.

Sony TV, which was among the top three channels till some time ago, has seen a consistent decline in ratings. As per data sourced from TAM subscribers for Week 34, 2013, Sony TV slipped to sixth position.

A senior media planner, on condition of anonymity, said, “Hathway Cable controls almost 40 to 50 per cent of the market. The payment dispute with Sony resulted in blockage of the channel in the prime time band. This is the biggest reason for the downfall in the ratings of the channel.”

Market experts have also highlighted that the dispute is likely to be resolved as KBC, the biggest property of the channel, is starting. KBC Season 7 will be aired from September 6 in the prime time slot on the weekends, and the channel has placed big bets on the show, with ad revenues of almost Rs 200 crore likely to be achieved from this season.

MSM officials declined to comment on the Hathway dispute.

Is the fiction genre not working for the channel?
Experts have also highlighted that the fiction genre of the channel has not been working as expected. Senior media planners we spoke to mentioned that shows such as Bade Achhe Lagte Hain, Crime Patrol and CID have worked well for the channel, but other fiction shows have not performed as expected.

The channel has high hopes from upcoming shows KBC, Nandini – Desh Ki Beti, and a culinary show hosted by Sanjeev Kapoor.

MSM declined to comment on this, but a very highly placed official from Sony TV, on condition of anonymity, said, “Our fiction genre is not getting the response we had expected. Although our new fiction shows have received a good response, since some time, our fiction genre has not been doing well. As far as ratings are concerned, it is just a number game; it is periodical. But we will bounce back.”

A senior media planner said, “Sony is a strong player. Ratings are a periodical phase. The trend is worrisome, but the channel would bounce back.”

Another media planner said, “Strange things are coming up in the ratings post digitisation. A channel with a higher ranking every week, comes to a lower ranking when one takes an average. I think till DAS is completely implemented, such facts will keep coming. We need to be patient in the approach and not arrive at conclusions.”

Critics also highlighted that one cannot arrive at a concrete conclusion as to which show is performing best and which is not. But if one considers the overall scenario, the fiction genre has not been performing up to the mark and this is another reason for Sony loosing to other GEC players. Although the planners have repeatedly mentioned that Sony TV is good at experimentation and the practice might pay off in the near future, with the channel seeing a surge in viewership.


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