New Delhi: Two months after its launch, Colors, the latest television channel to enter India’s highly competitive and lucrative general entertainment segment, has steadily grown its reach and viewership to become the third most viewed in its category. While the channel has been running a series of highly publicized and expensive reality shows, viewership data shows that its soap operas have helped it garner eyeballs.
Also See A Steady Climb (Graphic)
According to data from Mumbai-based TV audience measurement firm TAM Media Research Pvt. Ltd, for the week ended 20 September, Colors was at No. 3 in its category with 217 gross rating points (GRPs), while Zee TV had 232 GRPs and Star Plus, 287. A GRP is the sum of television rating points, or TRPs, that a channel enjoyed during a given period. A TRP is a function of the number of people watching the channel and the amount of time they spend watching it.
General entertainment channels, or GECs, account for around 22% of TV viewership and about 30% of ad spending according to estimates by TAM and the industry. A number of new channels have entered the segment in the past year: 9X, broadcast by INX Media Pvt. Ltd, started operations in November 2007, while NDTV Imagine, broadcast by NDTV Imagine Ltd, a subsidiary of NDTV Networks Plc., went on air in February. NDTV Networks is an overseas subsidiary of news broadcaster NDTV Ltd. Colors is run by Viacom 18 Pvt. Ltd, an equal-stakes joint venture between global media conglomerate Viacom Inc. and TV18 India Ltd. Yet another joint venture between Alva Brothers Entertainment Pvt. Ltd and Turner International is expected to launch a GEC by the end of this year.
While 9X briefly flirted with the third position, and Imagine came very close to No. 3, the two never accumulated enough ratings to be seen as a serious threat to the top order where Star Plus has remained No. 1 since 2001 and Zee TV has unsuccessfully tried to usurp the top slot from the channel run by a News Corp. subsidiary.
The highest GRP garnered by 9X was 103 in the week of 18-25 May and the highest rating Imagine ever managed was 97 for the week of 23-29 September, according to TAM data. When 9X became No. 3, there was a gap of 124 between it and the No. 2 channel, while Colors is just 15 GRPs away from the second highest rated channel. NDTV Imagine has now slipped to No. 6 and 9X is at No. 8.
“Our strategy from the beginning has been to ride on disruptive programming to gain entry into single-TV households. So while Khatron Ke Khiladi and Bigg Boss got the buzz around us, that got viewers to also sample Balika Vadhu or Jai Shri Krishna. Now these shows are getting us the numbers,” said Rajesh Kamat, chief executive officer (CEO), Colors. Balika Vadhu and Jai Shri Krishna are the second and the third highest rated shows, respectively, on GECs across the board. Bigg Boss is the third highest rated show on Colors.
“Colors has had a very impressive launch. But this is a long- haul game and the big challenge is in sustaining the numbers,” said Shashi Sinha, CEO of Lodestar Universal, a media buying firm.
Sinha said Colors was attracting top tier ad rates for some of its premium properties but not across the board. “It will take time. Advertiser confidence comes over a period of sustained performance.”
According to a media buyer who did not want to be named, top shows on Star Plus and Zee TV commanded a rate of between Rs80,000 and Rs90,000 and between Rs50,000 and Rs60,000, respectively, per 10 seconds. A similar slot for the most watched shows on Colors is being sold for Rs30,000-40,000.