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Sony or Zee: The battle for the No. 2 slot in Hindi GEC continues

18-January-2006
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Sony or Zee: The battle for the No. 2 slot in Hindi GEC continues

Developing different day parts can be beneficial and this is proving true for Zee TV. The channel has been giving Sony Entertainment Television a tough fight for the past 10 weeks and has beaten Sony to be the number two player in the past four weeks on the all day count. Sony TV still has a lead in primetime, but media experts state that Hindi GEC doesn’t have a distinct number two player any more.

Beginning with TAM Media Research numbers, for the target CS 4+ in the Hindi speaking markets, for the all day shares, Sony has been losing out on numbers for the past few months and Zee has seen gain – even though it is marginal on both counts, it has been enough to take the Zee graph over Sony’s. The case is true if the day part is made more specific with a 10.00 am to midnight consideration.

However, when we see primetime shares, Sony gets back its lead, despite the fall in primetime, which has been continual since October 2005. Even though the Zee primetime graph has registered growth for the past five weeks, it still has time to go before it takes on Sony in this slot. For Sony, this matters.

Tarun Katial, EVP and Business Head, Sony TV, said, “We have just introduced a completely new schedule and it takes time for the audience to adjust to such changes – you just don’t see an overnight jump. What matters is that the primetime shows are delivering. ‘Idol…’ is doing very well and ‘Deal…’ hasn’t lost a single point since its launch. In the last week, we have grown more and with what is planned in days to come, we will grow even further.”

Giving the Zee TV point of view here, Joy Chakraborty, EVP, Network Sales, said, “I have always said that TAM ratings aren’t a true indicator of what we deliver to our advertisers simply because in addition to C&S, we also have DTH presence with Dish TV having as many as 6.8 lakh subscribers. TV ratings don’t cover this at present and the advertiser doesn’t pay for this incremental number and this isn’t a small number.”

He further said, “Having said that, for the past many weeks, our shows like ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa’, ‘Sinndoor’, ‘Saath Phere’ and ‘Tumhari Disha’ are performing well and there is significant interest around these properties in the market. With the increase that we have seen in these shows’ performance, we have even been able to hike up the rates also for the new deals, largely because the growth has been happening for eight to ten weeks now.”

Chakraborty is confident that going forward, the channel will be able to catch up with Sony in the primetime share as well just as Katial is sure that Sony will be able to increase its distance with the other players.

While the channels are clear on their views, media experts state that with the exception of STAR Plus being a distinct leader, the positions following that in Hindi GEC is cluttered. “On a good week, even STAR One becomes the number two player,” said Pradeep Iyengar, VP, Carat (South and West), “and all days performance is very important too. We can’t just look at primetime – media buys have to be a fair mix of different day parts to ensure maximum efficiency for our clients.”

“What has worked in the favour of Zee is the fact that they have developed the afternoon slot and weekends and in totality, these are adding to the channel’s overall performance,” added Divya Radhakrishnan, VP, TME, “That channel has really picked up in the last few weeks and as you can see across TG’s. This is indeed good news for the channel.”

Iyengar said that Zee TV was a better return on investment (RoI), “Sony seems to have lost its charm at present and Zee has taken advantage of this. But with the way Hindi general entertainment is moving, you never know how this changes.”

Echoing this, Radhakrishnan said, “There isn’t much difference in the performance of the second rung channels, which implies that all these channels are substitutable – for the channels this might not be a good scene but for the advertiser, it is a very good scenario – you aren’t dependent on any one.”

Sony recently introduced changes in its show ‘Deal…’ with a new host and new look and feel to the show. The channel’s property, ‘Aap Jaisa Koi’, is also slated in the month. Whether these add to Sony or not and whether Zee will maintain the high it is seeing promises to be an interesting watch.

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