Mumbai: Star Plus, the flagship Hindi entertainment channel operated by Star India Pvt. Ltd, has wrested back the top ranking in the general entertainment segment after about five months, pushing Colors, the market leader for 22 weeks, to the second slot. Star Plus clocked 300 gross rating points (GRPs) and a channel share of 22%, according to viewership data by TAM Media Research Pvt. Ltd for the 21-27 February period.
Graphic: Ahmed Raza Khan / Mint
Colors, from the Viacom 18 Media Pvt. Ltd stable, followed with 286 GRPs, a sum of ratings over a specific period of time.
The surge in Star’s GRPs is thanks to two of its top-rated shows with TRPs (television rating points) touching 7% and above. “The shows—Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai and Bidaayi—have worked for us,” said Anupam Vasudev, executive vice-president (marketing) at Star Plus. “In both these cases, we’ve stayed true to the plot and not introduced sudden twists and turns or done tactical stuff, which would cause a disconnect with the story line.”
The last time Star Plus was at the top spot in the general entertainment space was in September 2009. Referring to the improved GRPs, Vasudev said the channel was not worried about weekly gains.
“We need consistent growth over a period of time,” he said. “The Hindi general entertainment space is extremely volatile, and we know it’s going to be a long haul to sustain and keep leadership position.”
Media industry experts say that the GEC segment is more volatile than other television genres. “There will be frequent swaps in top players (in GEC) in the weeks to come, ” said Sejal Shah, executive vice-president, Starcom MediaVest Group, adding that the GEC space was a lot more cyclical than others.
The cycles are, in fact, linked to twists in plots, the health of the distribution network and special shows or films. For instance, a senior Colors executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Zee’s GRPs may shoot up in the coming week owing to its television star awards show. However, the executive expects Colors’ ratings to improve as it plots new twists in one its popular shows.
Manoj Malkani, vice-president, MPG, media arm of Havas Media, however, feels that social dramas may be reaching saturation levels in small towns, affecting the overall ratings of serials such as Balika Vadhu and Uttaran (on Colors). “Balika Vadhu has been seeing a downward slide in ratings,” he said.
Stand-offs with the cable operators also affect the ratings of the GECs. Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd chief revenue officer Joy Chakraborthy admitted that Zee may have lost some share because of its dispute with an MSO (multiple system operator) which had switched off the channel in some areas. Besides this, broadcasters and cable operators renegotiate deals in March, which can lead to sudden disruptions in distribution.
Colors is now banking on its Indian Premier League-oriented programming to keep viewer interest alive. Star Plus, on the other hand, is bringing in a big show in association with CINTA (Cine and Television Artistes Association) to keep ratings buoyant.