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Introducing Malini Iyer

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Introducing Malini Iyer

BA in Tamil… Jisme Hindi Bhi Shamil?

Meet Malini Iyer. Complete with the big bindi and the silk nine yards, Malini is a South Indian woman who’s trying her best to fit into a Punjabi family. Encapsulating her character shouldn’t be too difficult…she’s a bundle of laughs, she’s warm and affectionate and she is a woman who’s not afraid to speak her mind. And she seems to have tickled the fancy of the audiences quite a bit judging by the numbers derived in Madhya Pradesh, UP and Gujarat.

In the Madhya Pradesh market, C&S 4 plus all individuals, Malini Iyer is seeing reasonably good ratings of 4.32 and 2.71 while Gujarat is generating 2.09 and 2 within the same target group. In UP, its generating ratings of 1.7 and 1.47. Within C&S 15 plus females, the sitcom sees ratings of 5.39 and 3.52 within MP, 2.7 and 1.94 in UP and 2.37 and 2.83 in Gujarat.

Says Akashdeep, Creative Head, Sahara, “ The initial response has been fantastic. And based on the feedback that we have received from both the advertisers and the public, I would say that we have a clear winner. Sri Devi has her own place in the hearts of the Indian viewers and after the long absence from the film world, it is but natural that the viewers would want to sample her performance through a show such as Malini Iyer. Sri Devi has depicted the nuances of the character beautifully and it’s a treat to watch her! Makes you realize that there are very few actresses of her caliber in the present day.”

He adds, “ We expect the show to pick up further ratings in the days to come. By March, we should be consolidating our hold still further by launching Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam starring Raveena Tandon and Kamini Damini, starring Hema Malini in a double role. Our prime time slot would be consolidated quite a bit, with these new entrants.”

Building Malini Iyer as a brand has been a praiseworthy effort. At the ground level, cut offs of Malini Iyer were displayed at Air Sahara centers, accompanied with branded calendars while high tech vans cruised across six cities in order to promote the show (the cities were spread across Maharashtra, UP and Gujarat.). The channel also tied up with around 500 restaurants across India, chipping in Malini Iyer table mats coupled with a contest for the food lovers. What’s interesting about the extent of the ground activity is the generous proportions of Idli- Dosa that were served to agency experts, well wishers and advertisers as a part of the ‘Malini Iyer Breakfast.’ With the initiation of Sri Devi into the Punjabi family, there was a reversal of menus and Idli Dosa paved way for a sultry fare of Tikki-Cholay!

The outdoor activity kick started with a three-stage teaser campaign. The first stage depicted Malini Iyer on hoardings across cities without ever revealing her face, the second stage depicted the lady in question accompanied with the quotable quotes while the third stage revealed the timings and the date on which the show was going to be aired. On television, Sahara aired the blockbuster movie Khushi on the 18th of January as a prelude to Malini Iyer and promoted the property throughout the same slot. Inspite of the Screen awards that were aired at the same time, Khushi received a TVR of 1.5, ensuring that there were a sizeable number who were a part of the prelude to Malini Iyer.

Interestingly, the spends dedicated towards the communication and brand building of Malini Iyer is only 1/4th of the monies dedicated to Karishma.

Media planners are more or less adopting a wait and watch policy with regard to the show. Says Hiren Pandit, GM, Mindshare, “It appears that the show has the potential to generate ratings, but lets just wait and watch. The show is doing pretty well in areas such as MP and Gujarat and even the 1.46 rating derived in Mumbai is quite decent. It’s a fairly new concept, the promotion has aroused interest and clients are looking at it as a favorable proposition. However, I have a feeling that it would take some time for the people to be glued to this kind of a format. The production team needs to get its act together just a wee bit, for instance the laughs look prompted and unreal.”

Pandit adds, “ The advantage with Malini Iyer is that its a sitcom and one needn’t keep a track of the plot. Hence…if you missed one or two episodes, you would still be in the loop. Which means that, its practically impossible for it to go the Karishma way!”

It remains to be seen whether Malini Iyer would prove to be a strong channel driver for Sahara. Meanwhile, we are keeping our fingers crossed for the two other star-studded shows that the channel plans to introduce in March, namely Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam and Kamini Daamini.


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