New Delhi: 9X, one of the newest entrants into the high-stakes world of general entertainment television, has strengthened its rank as No. 3, leaving behind Sony, a long-time occupant of the position, and NDTV Imagine, which initially rode high on the popularity of its mythological serial Ramayan. Star Plus remains the undisputed market leader, followed by Zee TV, according to data from television audience measurement firm TAM Media Research Pvt. Ltd.
(THE SOAP OPERA GOES ON) During the four weeks from 4 May to 31 May, 9X enjoyed an average weekly gross rating point of 97, according to TAM. The channel had an average viewership share of 9.25% within the general entertainment genre during this period. Analysts say general entertainment channels together enjoy about 30% of total viewership, the highest for any single genre, while their share of the total TV advertising pie by revenue is 40-45%.
An analysis of the top 20 highest rated programmes during May shows that the lure of the daily soap has not diminished, despite channels launching a slew of reality shows.
Just two reality shows made it to the top 20—Star Plus’ Kya Aap Paanchvi Pass Se Tez Hain? at No. 13 and Jo Jeeta Wohi Superstar on the same channel at No. 19.
All shows on the top 20 chart are from Star Plus or Zee, with the former claiming 13 shows in the list.
“Our strategy has all along been to grow slowly but steadily, consolidating our viewer base along the way. I think what has worked for us is that we don’t treat prime time differently. The viewer is assured that he can switch on 9X anytime and he will get good programming,” said Indrani Mukerjea, founder and chief executive officer of INX Media Pvt. Ltd.
For 9X, two movies—Partner and Jab We Met—brought in the highest ratings while talent hunt Chak De Bachche and Yeh Hai Jalwa ranked highest among its own programmes.
For NDTV Imagine, which launched in February this year, about three months after 9X, it has been a reversal of fortunes. The channel had an impressive start, with its flagship show Ramayan garnering high ratings. Ramayan had peaked at a television rating, or TVR, of 3.19, while during May, it had averaged 1.60.
Shailja Kejriwal, executive vice-president of content at NDTV Imagine, attributed the decline to the Indian Premier League cricket tournament. “It’s the IPL effect, but thankfully, it’s over now. In the coming weeks, we expect a major upswing,” she said.
Ramayan is still the top rated show for NDTV Imagine, followed by Jasuben Jayantilaal Joshi Ki Joint Family and Main Teri Parchhain Hoon.
Another highly publicized show that didn’t deliver the expected results was Star Plus’ quiz show Paanchvi Pass featuring Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan. While the show debuted with a TVR of 4.61, the latest episode on 31 May had a TVR of just 1.74, averaging a TVR of 2.5 across 12 episodes. “While it launched with a higher rating than IPL, it has certainly dropped now.
However, ratings is not the only parameter by which a channel judges a show.
“It has brought us new viewers to that time slot and it has created a huge amount of buzz for the channel. There are still many episodes to go and we are confident that it will pick up,” said Prem Kamat, vice-president of marketing at Star India Pvt. Ltd.
Star Plus and Zee together claim more than 50% of the genre’s viewership base, with the former averaging a channel share of 31% during the four weeks of May and the latter 21%. This, according to a media planner, means that those two channels have the most meaning from an advertiser’s point of view.
“Currently there are only two channels—Star Plus and Zee—that can help a brand build reach and there are a lot of others than can help build incremental reach. That’s how an advertiser would look at it,” said Punitha Arumugam, group CEO of Madison Media, an arm of Madison Communications Pvt. Ltd.
Despite that, the race for the lower slots will intensify as at least two new channels will enter the segment this year. Viacom18 Media Pvt. Ltd, an equal stakes joint venture between Viacom Inc. and the Network18 Group, will launch its general entertainment channel, named Colors, in July with a highly publicized reality show featuring Bollywood star Akshay Kumar and 13 starlets.
An equal stakes joint venture between Alva Brothers Entertainment Pvt. Ltd and Turner International India Pvt. Ltd is also set to launch a Hindi general entertainment channel sometime soon.