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STAR experiments with Indo-Pak comedy to lure Friday viewers

16-February-2005
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STAR experiments with Indo-Pak comedy to lure Friday viewers

STAR India is ready-to-air its cross border comedy, 'LOC - Life Out of Control'. The weekly is taking the Friday, 8.30 pm slot on STAR Plus. With this the Balaji production 'Karma' sees its end on the channel. In the present form, the show is a weekly but going forward, channel officials say that it would be cut down to a half-hour format. Lest, there are some changes in the Sony FPC again. The show would be pitted against the format show 'Dance Dance' and the forthcoming comedy from the channel, 'Batliwalla House No. 43, launching on the same date.

With the content the channel is treading on sensitive lines. With jokes made on the India-Pakistan relations, one can expect some trouble. The channel, however, is clear in what it is getting into. Shailja Kejriwal, Creative Director, STAR Plus, says, "We are working on this with a clean intent and we believe that these are issues that need to be talked about than just pushed under the carpet. This is an experiment that we believe in and we are taking it forward."

Friday is one of the slots that is giving STAR Plus some tough times. Unlike most other day parts, where the channel beats competition in a big way, Friday evenings are the only times when competition equates if not beats STAR Plus' numbers. If the period 8.00 pm to 11.30 pm is observed, the channel gives a channel share of 10.73 in week one, moving to 15.22, 12, 9.63, 13.07 and 15.2 in the following weeks. As against Sony, that managed a 10.14, 13.55, 16.26, 18.07, 16.21 and 16.49, from week one to six respectively.

Taken these into consideration, the channel's attempt would be to present a different programme and that is what STAR India is aiming with LOC. Ajay Vidyasagar, Head, Marketing, STAR India says, "There is a good audience on Fridays and we are trying to capture them through differentiation, which is why this show."

The competition that the show will face is in the form of Sony's 'Dance Dance', which hasn't quite left a mark for Sony, offering ratings just above the 1 mark. The second half, which would be against 'Batliwalla...', however, would prove to be an interesting battle, with both channels banking on comedies.

As far as 'LOC's marketing is concerned, he says that the channel has gone all the way to ensure awareness. The teaser is followed by character building, which will further break into Indo-Pak jokes that attempt to capture the taste of the show. The marketing plan is complete with on-air promotions, on-air innovations, off-air gimmicks with presence in the malls and other ground level activities.

How the games change now is an interesting watch.

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