Will advertisers tune into new-format non-fiction shows on Hindi GECs?

Experts believe new concepts combined with presence of celebrities will help the shows attract viewers as well as advertisers

e4m by Sonam Saini
Published: Jul 22, 2021 9:02 AM  | 4 min read

After a long time, Hindi General Entertainment Channels (GECs) have come up with new-format shows that are different from the usual singing and dance reality programmes. Colors TV is launching visual-based quiz show The Big Picture and Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) will air Shark Tank, a globally successful business reality format.

Colors will launch The Big Picture in association with Banijay Asia, Salman Khan Television, and ITV Studios Global Entertainment BV. Ranveer Singh will be the host. The channel has already signed Byjus' as the presenting sponsor for the show. Sony’s Shark Tank is a globally successful business reality format. The format has reinvigorated businesses in over 40 countries since its first launch in 2001.

So, what is prompting channels to think of new formats and will these shows see success with viewers and advertisers?

Industry experts say every show, fiction or non-fiction, takes some time to get established. Onboarding celebrities will help bring in advertisers and viewers. However, they feel, the new shows might face some challenges not just from the existing non-fiction properties, which already have a loyal audience base, but also from sporting events. 

While Colors already owns popular non-fiction properties like Bigg Boss, Khatro Ke Khiladi and Dance Deewane, Sony is home to Kaun Banega Crorepati, India’s Best Dancer, Super Dancer and India Idol.

According to Keerat Grewal, Partner, Ormax Media, non-fiction has seen a surge in preference across HGEC audiences over the last few years, as the fiction content in the category became weaker.

As per Ormax Power Rating for HGEC shows, among the most liked shows on-air, three of the top five are non-fiction. However, most current non-fiction shows are 4-12 seasons old, and so, exploring newer formats could well be a step in the right direction, especially since these shows build a loyal base over multiple seasons. 

"With TV being a screen for the whole family to consume content together, a new format's success will lie in its ability to be inclusive across age groups and gender. Shows with relatively complex content, like the 'pitch' in Shark Tank, will need to be made relatable and entertaining for the mass Indian audience. Onboarding celebrity entrepreneurs/investors among the panel will also help popularise the show and increase its appeal among the advertisers," adds Grewal.

The registration for both the shows has already begun. The channels have not yet revealed the launch dates, but according to the sources, The Big Picture is slated to launch in September, whereas Shark Tank is scheduled for September-October.

Another factor that will impact the acceptability of the shows is the sporting events.

Says Linu John, VP, Media Planning, Zenith, "The upcoming period is packed with cricket and high-impact GEC shows. Historically, we see a huge audience shift towards cricket, especially when it is IPL and the world cup, and the major dip in viewership is driven by GECs. This year, we have back-to-back cricket happening in the festive period, which creates a gap in deliveries for the GEC.”

“Though the shows that have established their mark in the reality space will still be able to get a portion of their audience, the impact of cricket will be seen across shows. But new-format shows will face some difficulties in the initial sampling, which is critical for them," adds John.

John further says, "For the advertisers and brands, there are many choices in the market, and so there will be a good dispersion across shows. The newly launched shows will see the impact of the multiple options in the market."

Adding to John, Karan Taurani, SVP, Elara Capital, says it is unlikely that there will be any sluggishness in advertising. "Of course there could be pressure because a lot of budgets could move to sports. A lot also depends on the pricing of the shows. Getting advertisers is not a challenge."


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