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The rise of the Bengali GECs; new channels stir up the market

21-July-2010
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The rise of the Bengali GECs; new channels stir up the market

Bengali GECs have been seeing quite some action in recent times. The recent launch of Mahuaa Bangla channel and a new GEC planned by the ABP Group, slated for launch in October, has stirred up a lot of excitement in the market.

For the period June 6-July 10, 2010, the share of Bengali GECs stood as follows: Star Jalsha (46.1), Zee Bangla (22.4), ETV Bangla (15), Rupashi Bangla (7.7), Aakaash (Bangla) (5.7), and DD7 Bangla (3). This data is for C&S 4+ years for the West Bangal market.

Why is there a sudden influx of Bengali GECs and how will this affect the overall Bengali GEC market? Media professionals share their view point.

According to Sanjoy Chakrabarty, CEO, Last Minute Inventory, “The potential for this market has not been reached fully and hence, there is space for new players to come in. Apart from West Bengal, most of these channels have a market in Bangladesh and North East India as well.”

As far as the content is concerned, soaps and reality shows still lead, while movies make up a small portion of the content. On reality shows, the media experts felt that talent-based reality show would continue to dominate in this region as families watched TV together. They felt that it would be quite some time before shows such as ‘Sach Ka Saamna’ took off in this market.

Movies are not as big in Bengali GECs as they are in Hindi GECs, with fewer movies produced in this language and the rights of the major movies being lapped up by two or three big groups.

However, what is interesting to note is that in dance-based reality shows, the contestants perform mostly to Hindi songs rather than Bangla songs.

Sharing more insights on this, Arindam Bhattacharyya, Planning Director, Lintas Media Group, said, “Soaps and reality shows would still be on demand in the near future as well, but the content has to evolve time and again, be more contemporary and become less predictable for the viewers.” He also felt that the soaps should follow a reality show format and should be made in the 26-week/ 20-week formats.

Youth viewership of these channels is like any other youth consumption across the country. Bhattacharyya pointed out that the youth was still watching national music channels, English music channels and flickers of some experimental shows.

“Channels like Tara Muzik and Sangeet Bangla have contributed to place their appeal to the urban youth. One, they have randomised content, and their programming loyalty is not based on dayparts. Maybe tomorrow the leading GEC Bangla channel launches a second GEC catering only to the youth, with user-generated content, then we can witness a rise in youth Bangla TV,” he added.

Going forward, one can continue to expect these shows to dominate, but there is scope of offering different content to the viewers. There is scope for interactive formats to take off as well. For example, the much touted football reality show (called ‘The Match’) on Mahuaa Bangla has found attention in the digital space, across blogs and talk sites.

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