Hindi GECs: Race for No. 1 continues; compelling content will attract eyeballs, say media planners

The last couple of weeks have seen Star Plus and Colors involved in a tough battle for the numero uno spot. While both these channels are very bullish on their programming line-up, one has to take into account the loss of viewership due to IPL3. Colors, however, has tied up with IPL to create shows around the event in a bid to retain viewers who watch IPL.

e4m by Khushboo Tanna
Published: Mar 25, 2010 8:25 AM  | 4 min read
Hindi GECs: Race for No. 1 continues; compelling content will attract eyeballs, say media planners

After reigning supreme for weeks, Colors is now facing stiff competition from Star Plus. The last few weeks have seen both the channels sprucing up their programming to counter the IPL viewership.

In week 12, Star Plus led the GEC race, recording 315 GRPs, but down 20 GRPs from the previous week. Colors, which was at No. 1 in week 11 with 338 GRPs, slipped to the second spot in week 12 with 291 GRPs. It is interesting to note that while last week, the top three channels were clocking in 300+ GRPs each, this week only Star Plus has crossed the 300-GRP mark.

While ‘Balika Vadhu’ managed to get 6.5 TVR for Colors, ‘IPL Rockstar’ did not even make it to the top 10 programmes for Colors. The channel had also telecast the recently released movie, ‘Toh Baat Pakki’, which recorded 2.2 TVR.

Commenting on the partnership with IPL, Ashvini Yardi, Head - Programming, Colors, said, “Colors has entered into a three-year partnership with IPL, which gives us the license to produce four shows. We have never shied away from trying something new, and ‘IPL Rockstars’ is a step in the same direction. While the show is getting noticed, the ratings could have been better.”

The channel, meanwhile, is also very optimistic about its strategy of airing recent Hindi blockbusters and is satisfied with the ratings that these movies add to the overall channel TRPs. Yardi said, “Among other things, Colors has also been the pioneer in bringing fresh movies within 45 days of theatrical release. We did this with blockbusters like ‘Ajab Prem Ki Gazab Kahani’ and ‘Blue’. Our aim is to become the entertainment destination for our viewers, and new movies are a part of this strategy.”

Commenting on the fight for the No. 1 spot, she said that it was back to a see-saw situation and added that the difference between the No. 1 and the No. 2 players was a miniscule 5-15 GRPs. “But the fact is that advertisers buy shows and they pay for the show that is going to get them the best returns. However, being the No. 1 channel does give a massive psychological boost to the team working so hard to make it happen,” she admitted.

As far as Star Plus is concerned, ‘Bidaai’ was the highest rated programmed, recording 6.5 TVR, while ‘Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai’ recorded 5.6 TVR.

Anupam Vasudev, EVP - Marketing, Star India, said, “As per this year’s data, IPL matches are rating significantly lower than the top fiction shows on Hindi GECs, which obviously reflects on the strength of content on Hindi GECs.” Expressing happiness over the performance of the shows on Star Plus, he said, “Clearly the rise in GRPs is based on our programming and not on a one-off event or movie, which is very encouraging, given the refreshing new content and existing shows.”

He further said that he did not believe that leadership was a weekly game and that the channel was committed to consistently creating great content. “Star Plus has always been known for its superlative story-telling, and our shows depict the changes that are taking place in the society today, with a healthy dose of realism, optimism, social concerns, edginess, and humour,” he added.

Meanwhile, media planners too have stressed on the importance of content and said that having compelling content would surely help the channels to get more viewers.

According to Ajit Varghese, MD, Maxus India, “The No. 1 position does not matter much, what matters are the top three channels.” Speaking about the IPL-related shows on Colors, he said, “These shows combine two of the biggest passions of the country – ‘cricket’ and ‘Bollywood’, and if the content is interesting, these shows will be able to attract a lot of viewership.”

Anamika Mehta, COO, Lodestar Universal, noted, “Star Plus’ GRPs perhaps this week were also a result of the finales of ‘Music ka Maha Muqabla’ and a few other shows. Surely, Star Plus will keep up the fight and will need to create innovative programming/ formats in months to come.”

Talking about Colors’ strategy of telecasting recent Hindi movies, Mehta said, “Blockbuster world premieres soon after theatre release while is a smart strategy to grow audiences and buzz, however the success would be governed by the verdict and noise at the Box Office and hence, the price-value equation would assume significance.”

She also felt that as far as the IPL related shows were concerned, content differentiation, strategy and timing would determine their success.

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