By Anindita Sarkar
Bogged by the immense popularity of the $3.2-billion Indian Premier League (IPL), many broadcasters, in the past, specially the general entertainment channels (GEC), have desisted from launching new shows. Not this time, though.
The shifting of the first half of the IPL matches to the UAE and the general election have given broadcasters the confidence that viewers will not be entirely hooked to the IPL. Hindi GEC space that accounts for maximum viewership of 30 per cent across genres has, therefore, decided to put its best foot forward.
For instance, Star Plus, the genre leader and the flagship GEC from the STAR India stable, launched a new show titled Ek Hasina Thi on April 14, just prior to the launch of IPL. The story — set in the eastern megapolis of Kolkata — feeds the channel’s 8 pm slot. The show is being produced by Cinevistaas. Siddharth Malhotra, creative producer, Cinevistaas, said, “While the IPL does impact Hindi GEC viewership, luckily it is not being played in India this time. Therefore, the dip in the show ratings should not be more than 10-15 per cent.”
He further adds, “The TVR of a show is dependent on two factors — reach and time spent. While the reach of a show is driven by a channel’s programming strategy, the time spent is all about content stickiness. And we are working hard to deliver on that stickiness.”
Interestingly, Sony Entertainment Television, the flagship GEC from the Multi Screen Media — the official broadcaster for the IPL — also launched a new show called Encounter on April 11. It is a tri-weekly from Friday through Sunday at 9 pm. The broadcasters intend to ride IPL’s popularity and shepherd all eyeballs from IPL to the new show. Rohit Gupta, president, MSM, said, “You cannot get a bigger launch platform than the IPL. The IPL is a big platform for the promotion of our shows. So, we do keep a part of our inventory to promote the launch of our new shows as well as the existing ones.”
Meanwhile, Zee TV, too, is launching Kumkum Bhagya on April 15 at 9 pm, replacing Pavitra Rishta, which moves to 6.30 pm. The show is based on the novel Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. Namit Sharma, programming head, Zee TV, said, “Today, we are working in a very challenging and an interesting environment. While there are the GECs fighting with each other for a slice of that viewership pie, there is the IPL and the elections, too, as added competitors. The challenge for us, therefore, is not just the IPL. It’s the overall environment and how to keep the viewers hooked through entertainment in the face of distraction from areas as diverse as politics and sports.”
Another new show will be launched by Zee during the IPL.
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