The general entertainment space in television has a new No. 3, Sahara One. For the week ended 17 February, the channel’s gross rating points, a measure of television viewership, were 101, ahead of Sony Entertainment Television’s (SET’s) 96, according to data provided by TAM Media Research, a rating agency. Star Plus with 455 gross rating points and Zee TV with 210 remained No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.
Sahara claims better programming and marketing contributed to this, although some media analysts believe that SET’s own failings could have helped its rival. “Sony has not been performing of late,” said Prashant Kumar, the national trading director of Group M, a media-buying agency.
Sahara One’s growth comes after nine months of stagnant ratings. “We had hugely aggressive marketing, across all markets and vehicles, and this has brought a large number of people to our shows,” said Seemanto Roy, head of Sahara One Media Entertainment Ltd. “Now it’s just a matter of growing over a period of time,”he added.
Sahara’s share in the general entertainment genre slipped from 8% in the first quarter of 2006 to 5% in the third; it has since recovered lost ground and is back at 8%. SET, in contrast, enjoyed a share of 12% for most of last year but slipped to 8% in the first quarter of this year, according to TAM.
Executives at SET aren’t unduly worried. The fall was temporary, said Rohit Gupta, SET’s vice-president, marketing and sales.
“It only reflects a week’s performance,” he said. “One week of someone going up or down doesn’t really impact trends.” He listed all that the channel had done since, pointing out that it had aired Bollywood hit Omkara and the Filmfare awards “for which ratings haven’t come in”. Group M’s Kumar, however, said Sony’s performance “has been a big concern for everybody”. “When a client invests in a channel, the returns are important both for the client and the channel,” he added.