Why older shows have an edge over new ones on Hindi GECs

The latest BARC data says that broadcasters across Hindi GECs launched over 20 shows by April 2021, but none could make it to the top ten, barring Super Dancer Chapter 4 on SET

e4m by Sonam Saini
Updated: May 17, 2021 10:41 AM

Despite broadcasters launching over 20 shows across Hindi General Entertainment Channels in 2021 (till April 2021), Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) data shows that the top ten program list is dominated by either the longest-running shows or year-old shows.  

According to the BARC India data for week 1- week 15 (Urban) 2021, Star Plus dominated the fiction category with its five shows on the list while Sony Entertainment Television led the non-fiction space with three shows. Meanwhile, Colors' and Zee TV’s one show each also made it to the top ten list. 

Among the top ten shows, the fiction category dominating the chart, and it seems like Star Plus has really cracked the code when it comes to fiction programming. The channel has five shows including Anupamaa, Imli, Ghum Hai Kisi Ke Pyar Me that are Hindi adaptations of Bengali shows. Its longest-running show Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai, and the second season of its other longest-running show Saath Nibhana Saathiya in the top ten. Apart from these, Zee TV’s popular fiction show Kundali Bhagya also entered the list. 

The industry experts believe that shows like Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlta Hai, which have been running on Star Plus for over a decade, have a very strong and loyal fan following. Hence it is a challenge for the new shows to compete with other shows like these. Similarly, the show Kundali Bhagya launched in 2017 is a spin-off Kumkum Bhagya which is again has been running on TV for over six years now and also Saath Nibhana Saathiya which is the second season of Star Plus’ popular show and that might be the reason that Colors recently launched the second season of its popular show Sasural Simar Ka (the show was first launched in 2011 and ran for over eight years). 

“Generally new shows take time to adapt and build viewership. It may not come instantly but are likely to make it to the top ten. The shows that are there in the top ten are the popular franchise and it won’t be easy to shake them because they have been running for years. It's a process and it doesn’t happen overnight and to get a mass viewership it takes time,” said Karan Taurani, VP, Elara Capital. 

He added, “Sony has done well in the non-fiction space and they have invested in multiple properties as well. Whereas Star is also doing well in non-fiction space but in the regional markets. On the Hindi GEC, there might be a lag in non-fiction but the larger opportunities lie in the regional non-fiction programming where they are investing heavily. They have shifted gear from investing heavily in non-fiction Hindi GECs to regional non-fiction and that’s the strategy Star is adopting.” 

Moreover, on the non-fiction category side, Colors’ Bigg Boss Grand Finale was among the top ten shows along with SET’s Indian Idol Maha-Episode, Indian Idol, and Super Dancer Chapter 4 (The show which was launched on March 27, 2021). While this year only four-five non-fictions shows were launched across Hindi GECs. 

“Fiction-based shows take time to build the audience which comes more with word of mouth and marketing campaign put together whereas non-fiction gets a huge audience on the first day itself. Fiction is more common in nature whereas non-fiction is based on the scale, cast, and celebrity factor, which gives the channel’s a high viewership and hence we see more fiction shows across Hindi GEC,” said an industry observer. 

Speaking on the Star adaptation strategy, he added, “After tasting the success first with the show Kulfi Kumar Bajewala, Star continued to bring more adaptations on its channel and that’s the reason after Anupamaa, the channel launched Imili and Ghum Hai Kisi Ke Pyar Me and clearly it's working for them.”

In an earlier interaction with e4m, Director's Kut Productions' founder, Rajan Shahi, the maker of Anupamaa and Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai, explained, “One can never predict a trend when it comes to television or films. Over the years in television, there has been a certain kind of show which had change the entire texture of the other shows.”

Shahi added, “The television industry will always be driven by that one show that changes the trend and I can say Anupamaa is creating a new trend.” He also added that a well-balanced story that connects with the audience should be at the forefront this year.

Echoing a similar thought, Sandip Sikcand believes that the content which currently getting more eyeballs is the stories of women. “The stories can’t be overdramatic. The ones that are working on TV have drama but it's relatable to the audience. The viewers need to connect with the story and its characters. Unrealistic and unnecessary drama is not something that is watched by the audience these days. For instance, my show Mehandi Hai Rachne Wali (on Star Plus) is a story of a widow. Initially, we have shown the woman who is a widow, scared and quiet which we noticed was not been liked by the audiences. We gradually made a change and we started getting ratings. Therefore, it has to be relatable and should connect with your audience.”

Even if we look at the shows in the overall market, Anupamaa, Imili, Ghum Hai Kisi Ke Pyaar Mein and Kundali Bhagya are leading the charts along with the re-run shows on the free to air (FTA) channels like Tujhse Hai Rabta or Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai

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