Rewind 2012: A Gossip Girl round-up of Indian TV

‘This just in’…from digitisation, ratings controversy, to aggresive show launches, the year 2012 has seen it all

e4m by Synjini Nandi
Updated: Jan 1, 2013 5:19 PM
Rewind 2012: A Gossip Girl round-up of Indian TV

It is said that in order to understand the present, one needs to know the past. With the year 2013 just around the corner, we look back at the past 12 months of the broadcast industry. It can be said that experimentation seemed to be the buzzword for 2012. With the ever increasing competition among the different players, channels left no stone unturned to offer something new to their target audience.

As the year comes to an end, I would like to share the key trends that were spotted in the year 2012 and as Gossip Girl would put it, “This just in”…

Gossip Girl Tip 1: Marketing spends and gimmicks on the high
This year saw an increase in marketing spends with broadcasters going all out to promote their shows across various media platforms. STAR created a buzz with its big ticket launch ‘Satyamev Jayate’ with a nine-channel simulcast as also associating with competing channels and choosing a Sunday 11.30AM time slot for the show. Similarly, for ‘Bigg Boss 6’, Colors was looking at 20 per cent premium on ad rates. Sony launched an extensive marketing campaign for ‘KBC 6’. Zee TV also launched an extensive digital campaign for the new season of ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa 2012’.

Gossip Girl Tip 2: Rise of youth GECs
Channels today are going beyond music to attract the youth. Hybridisation of content seems to be the buzzword, with channels such as UTV Bindass, MTV, and so on, focusing on reality and youth-based content in addition to music. On the same lines, Channel V established itself firmly as a youth GEC with the launch of different fiction shows such as ‘Gumrah’,’ Suvreen Guggal’, ‘Best Friends Forever’, ‘The Buddy Project’ and ‘The Serial’, in addition to its earlier show, ‘Dil Dosti Dance’.

Gossip Girl Tip 3: Change in movie channels’ approach towards marketing
Movie channels today are undertaking aggressive marketing campaigns to create noise around the premiere of films on television. What was earlier seen only in case of theatrical releases has trickled down to the television screens with movie premieres garnering a lot of attention today.

Gossip Girl Tip 4: Ratings controversies
The year 2012 saw its fair share of controversy regarding TAM Media Research and raised questions on the authenticity of the television ratings system in India, leading to WPP reiterating with the statement that the NDTV lawsuit is hypothetical.

Gossip Girl Tip 5: Aggression in show launches and show replacements
The year saw a decrease in tolerance of shows that do not click with the audience; they were swiftly replaced them with new shows. In 2012, around 13 shows went off air. Some of them were ‘Sajda Tere Pyaar Mein’, ‘Shubh Vivah’, ‘Dekha Ek Khwaab’, ‘Navya’, ‘Sasural Genda Phool’, ‘Maryada Lekin Kab Tak, ‘Choti Bahu’, ‘Ram Milaayi Jodi’, ‘Bhagonwali – Baante Apni Taqdeer’, ‘Yahan Mein Ghar Ghar Kheli’, ‘Na Aana Is Des Mein Lado’, ‘Phulwa’, ‘Havan’, ‘Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon’, ‘Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuch Kaha’, ‘Teri Meri Love Stories’ and ‘Byaah Hamari Bahoo Ka’.

As a result of low tolerance for non-delivering shows, Hindi GECs are also churning out a slew of new shows. Zee TV launched six new shows this year – ‘Sapne Suhaane Ladakpan ke’, ‘Rab Se Sona Ishq’, ‘Phir Subah Hogi’, ‘Punar Vivah’, ‘Fear Files’ and ‘Ramayan’. Star Plus launched five fiction shows this year – ‘Lakhon Mein Ek, ‘Arjun’, ‘Teri Meri Love Stories’, ‘Khamoshiyan’ and ‘Kaali’. Sony launched ‘Kya Hua Tera Vaada’, ‘Byaah Hamari Bahoo Ka’ and ‘Love Marriage Ya Arranged Marriage’, Honge Judaa Na Hum’ and ‘Anamika’. Colors also launched four new shows, namely, ‘Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuch Kaha’, ‘Kairi’, ‘Chhal, Sheh, Maat’, ‘Madhubala – Ek Ishq, Ek Junoon’ and ‘Durga’.

Gossip Girl Tip 6: Rise of the big boys
As News Corp and ESPN get into a definitive agreement that allows News Corp to own and operate all ESS businesses in India, leading to STAR India making its presence felt across all genres, which includes general entertainment, movies, English entertainment, regional and now a strong foothold in the sports’ genre as well.

With the completion of 20 years, Zee is all set to focus on the international arena and is looking to capture the eyeballs of the local population in markets such as America, Africa, Middle East and South East Asia.

Multi Screen Media (MSM) launched its first sports channel, Six, that went on air from April 7, 2012; its key property being ‘UFC Mixed Martial Arts’, making it the sixth channel in the MSM network’s bouquet. MSM and the National Basketball Association (NBA) have also announced a new multi-year television partnership. Hindustan Lever also signed an advertising deal with MSM.

Viacom18’s Colors launched marquee properties such as ‘Jhalak Dikhla Jaa’, ‘India’s Got Talent’ and ‘Bigg Boss’, which proved to be much stronger than their previous counterparts. In the fiction programming space, ‘Balika Vadhu’ continued to rule the 8PM time slot.

Gossip Girl Tip 7: Local animated content
The early broadcasts of channels in the kids’ genre such as Cartoon Network, Disney and Nickelodeon saw majority of the programming content being acquired from Europe and the US. Thereafter, Japanese animation also made its entry in the programming line-up of channels. Eventually, the kids’ space saw an onset of local Indian animated content with channels creating content such as ‘The Adventures of Tenali Raman’ and ‘Little Krishna’. Today, with shows such as ‘Keymon Ache’ on Nickelodeon, ‘Roll No. 21’ on Cartoon Network, ‘Chhota Bheem’ on Pogo and ‘Luv Kush’ on Disney, local content seem to have finally come of age.

Gossip Girl Tip 8: Digitisation
One of the major developments in the Indian television space has been the advent of digital modes of broadcast reception and the conversion of analogue to digital, which represents a big change for consumers and the broadcast business.

Digitisation has also led to a spurt of ad free channels such as Disney Junior, HBO Defined, HBO Hits and Nick Junior, which would be completely ad free and focus on subscription for revenues. Not that ad-free proposition was missing in India prior to this. The kick-off of HD (High Definition) offerings from various channels, more specifically of sports related events on channels such as ESPN or a channel such as Zee Golf from the Zee Entertainment bouquet also have ad-free or minimum advertising versions.

Gossip Girl Tip 9: Digital marketing on the rise
Digital is here to stay and it is believed that brands that fail to join the bandwagon will lose the rat race. Broadcasters have realised this and are keen to provide viewers with an engagement platform beyond the television screens. Apart from social media such as Facebook and Twitter, many channels are coming up with innovative applications on the digital space that help them interact with the audience, boost audience aggregation as well create buzz about the show. From creating international dance routines, conducting an aarti, to playing Holi... a lot has been made possible on the digital platform. From real-time content sharing to launching quirky apps – this year has seen it all.

The theme for Rewind 2012 is Different Strokes. All write ups on various aspects of the Indian media, marketing and advertising industry will be around an international TV show or sitcom that best described the year that was...

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