Star Pravah has 9 out of top 10 shows in Maharashtra: Kevin Vaz

Kevin Vaz, Head - Network Entertainment Channels, Star & Disney India, tells us how the relatable content strategy of Star Pravah has maintained its leadership for the last 69 weeks

e4m by Simran Sabherwal
Published: Jan 25, 2022 9:39 AM  | 8 min read
Kevin Vaz

In the Week 38, ‘20 (mid-September 2020), the Marathi GEC genre saw a change in its pecking order with Star Pravah taking the top spot. Since then, for the last 69 weeks, Star Pravah has maintained its leadership position as the most watched channel among the Marathi speaking populace. In addition, the channel has consistently topped the charts with GRPs between 400 – 500.

Being a dual language state, the Marathi market has a big overlap with Hindi GEC. To make its content proposition stronger, Star Pravah constantly mines local insights about the content preferences and gathering feedback from the market. Backed by key insight that content in the viewers’ preferred language makes it relatable, the channel collaborated with storytellers who understand the nuances of the market to provide compelling content in Marathi. This helped grow the Marathi GEC space and saw more viewers tuning in.

Kevin Vaz, Head - Network Entertainment Channels, Star & Disney India says, “This certainly hasn’t been easy, but with the efforts and determination of the teams involved, we have made Marathi GEC mainstream today. We are constantly working to keep our relationships with the audience strong and relevant by engaging with them through their own idioms.”

He further says, “From the content perspective, Maharashtra is a unique market and our renewed strategy has been to embrace the entirety of the state. We created an all-encompassing canvas of shows that would work for every region within the state. Our deep understanding of the distinctions of the Marathi-speaking audience is weaved in well in our programming to help create deeper connects with our viewers.”

Star’s content strategy and endeavour to create quality entertainment with locally relevant stories for the entire family has helped the channel continue its streak over the past year. With every show, the focus has been to deep-dive into understanding the nuances of a particular community, the dialect and culture. The channel’s priority, for fiction/non-fiction shows, is creating iconic characters based on the understanding of the market and insights that Marathi families associate with so that a deep connection is forged between the viewers and the characters and stories. The characters are weaved in socially relevant stories where they are shown overcoming obstacles thereby creating an emotional bond with the viewers.

This has clearly paid dividends as Vaz says, “Star Pravah has 9 out of top 10 shows in Maharashtra. (Top 8 & #10 ranked are from Star Pravah (Source: 2+ Mah/Goa – U+R, Prog. Performance, Weeks 51’21-Wk 2’22) which is a testament to our strong content strategy.” He adds, “Star Pravah will continue to strive towards providing an eclectic mix of entertaining content to Marathi- speaking viewers and to set the creative bar higher and higher.”

Looking at the formats which worked, Vaz highlights the strong combination of fiction, non-fiction shows and high-octane events. “Our events track very well, with them performing better with every successive event showcase. Our New Year event, Dhum Dhadaka 2022 had the highest ever rating for any event in last 3 years in Maharashtra. (Source: BARC, Mah/Goa – U+R 2+, Wk 1’19 – Wk 1’22, programme performance). Our Non-fiction franchise, Mee Honar Superstar has strengthened with every Season. The current edition known as, Mee Honar Superstar Chhote Ustaad had the highest rating for any Non-fiction show launch in 2021 across all languages and genres in Maharashtra. (Source: BARC, Mah/Goa – U+R 2+, Wk 1’21 – Wk 49’21, programme performance).”

While many channels cut back its content spends at the start of the pandemic, Star Pravah went full throttle and invested significantly in more original content hours, particularly in high-octane shows, catering to the viewers’ demand.

Growing the Marathi Market

Comparing the Marathi GEC market and the growth of the genre since 2018, Vaz says, “With 57 crore weekly impressions, Marathi GEC had a 14 per cent share of overall TV in Maharashtra. Today, MGEC has grown 1.8x delivering 102 crore impressions on a weekly basis and commands 26% share of overall TV in the state. This is primarily on back of Star Pravah which witnessed 4x increase in weekly impressions (12cr to current 50cr weekly impressions). (Source: BARC, Mah/Goa – U+R 2+, wk 1-4’18 v/s Wk 51’21 – Wk 2’22). Currently, Star Pravah is the destination in MGEC with 48% share (Source: BARC, Mah/Goa – U+R 2+, Wk 51’21 – Wk 2’22).” The channel has seen growth across the state and Vaz continues, “While, we currently dominate across all pop strata and have grown by 4x. In Mumbai, we have seen a 5x growth. (Source: BARC, Mah/Goa – U+R 2+, wk 1-4’18 v/s Wk 51’21 – Wk 2’22). We strongly believe that going regional and thinking like a local is what has favoured the growth. Star Pravah is a distinct leader in the Marathi GEC genre and has cemented its strong position further over the last 5 quarters across urban and rural markets.”

Value For Advertisers

The success of Star Pravah’s content strategy is reflected in the channel being a must in the media plan for any advertiser looking at Maharashtra. Multiple brands have leveraged popular protagonists of Pravah’s series to localise their curated communication and establish deeper consumer connect. Examples include the big billion days with Flipkart, topical Dusshera campaign with Tata Tea, driving awareness on hygiene products with Nobel Hygiene. Brands like Mangalam Bhimseni Kapoor & Joy E-Bikes also effectively harnessed the scale & reach of Star Pravah’s events for new brand launches. Vaz states, “Helping brands achieve their marketing objectives and co-creating effective communication has always been a key priority and we will continue forging more of such relationships in future as well.”

Rajiv Dubey

On his part, Rajiv Dubey, Head of Media, Dabur says, “Maharashtra is an important market for the FMCG industry, it is same for Dabur too. In FMCG, high growth categories - such as Oral Care, Hair Care, Juices, Home Care and Baby Care -in which Dabur also has a strong presence, Maharashtra comes as a top choice. Since Maharashtra is an extremely important market and our brands are striving towards leadership position, Star Pravah becomes an important choice.” Dubey further says, “Maharashtra is an isolateable market in media terms and with choices like Star Pravah, it’s easier to remain focussed in this market. For Dabur, presence on Star Pravah ensures high viewership and it becomes an easier choice. Pravah has been the leader in the GEC space and we continue to invest behind this channel.”

Akshay Dujodwala

For pine chemicals manufacturer, Mangalam Organics Star Pravah is the go-to channel when it comes to reaching consumers. Akshay Dujodwala, Chief Strategy Officer, Mangalam Organics Says, “Marathi as a language is very dominant in Maharashtra and this helps us isolate the State as a market. In this background, Star Pravah gives us an opportunity of connecting directly with the heart of Maharashtra innovatively. The thematic big-ticket programs around major events like Diwali, New Year helps reach a wider audience than the regular viewers who tune in to watch the regular programming. We have associated with Star Pravah on these big-ticket events - which clock high GRPs - and this has given us high visibility and awareness. The channel has got its content strategy right.”

Amit Modak

For jewellery major, the innovations offered has helped build brand salience. According to Amit Modak, CEO & Director, P.N. Gadgil and Sons, “We advertise across the Marathi TV space, typically on the top three leading GECs and news channels in the state. Our association with Star Pravah started with the historical television series, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar - Mahamanvachi Gauravgatha and our relationship with the channel has grown since then. Star Pravah has been doing well and this has translated into eyeballs for our brand. The innovations offered by the channel on their big ticket programs has helped our brand and thus we prefer taking the sponsorship route as against just the plain vanilla FCT. As far as the ad-rates are concerned, I find the channel pricing and costing reasonable for the GRPs it garners.”

The optimism shown by brands is also reflected by Vaz who says that Regional entertainment has witnessed an increase in interest from both national and local advertisers. He adds, “There is indeed headroom for growth, given the increase in market share of regional content in Maharashtra. With 9 out of top 10 shows, Star Pravah plays a vital role in fulfilling media objectives and is absolutely indispensable for all advertising campaigns in Maharashtra. The advertising fraternity is cognisant of the changing viewership landscape in Maharashtra. Star Pravah has also been the driving force behind expanding the Marathi GEC ADex altogether.”

Looking ahead, Vaz says that Star Pravah will be expanding its hours of original programming. He reveals, “We are focused on improving our content offerings on the channel. We will soon be expanding our original programming hours and launching shows in afternoon time band. This is a first in Marathi GEC space and we are excited for the same. We are happy with the performance of Star Pravah and believe that there is more headroom for growth as we continue to provide high-quality content and tap into the next phase of growth.”

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