Mumbai: Star Plus has lined up a major brand recast that includes a new logo, tagline and signature tune as it seeks to establish a clear lead in the Hindi entertainment television market, which has seen it in close competition with rival Colors.
The flagship channel of Star India Pvt. Ltd, owned by media baron Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., will from 12 July sport a ruby red star and a new tagline: Rishta wahi, soch nayi (same relationship, new thinking).
The makeover includes a new signature tune composed by Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy, and sung by Shreya Ghoshal that was overseen by Piyush Pandey, chairman of advertising agency Ogilvy and Mather.
The new logo has been created by UK-based design firm Venture 3, used by News Corp. to rejuvenate some of its other TV platforms globally.
The rebranding exercise, which cost an estimated $4 million (Rs18.72 crore), is a big step for the channel, according to Uday Shankar, chief executive of Star India. “The last time Star Plus recast its agenda was in 2000, with the launch of ground-breaking shows such as Kaun Banega Crorepati, (Kyunki) Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki, which were new to Indian television,” he said.
Those popular shows catapulted Star Plus into a leadership position in the Hindi entertainment space on TV, which it held till the beginning of 2009.
Colors, owned by Viacom18 Media Pvt. Ltd, unseated Star Plus from its dominance in the most valuable space in Indian television in April last year.
The segment attracted at least Rs3,000 crore in advertising revenue in the year ended 31 March, according to industry estimates.
Since April 2009, the number one position has been hotly contested by Colors and Star Plus, followed closely by Zee TV and NDTV Imagine.
In the week ended 5 June, Star Plus was number one with 317 gross rating points (GRPs), followed by Colors and Zee TV with 271 and 249 points, respectively, according to TAM Media Research Pvt. Ltd, the Mumbai-based television audience measurement firm.
GRPs are a total of television rating points (TRP) over a period of time. TRP is a measure of the percentage of viewers watching a particular programme at a given time.
“The competitive pressure was increasing,” said Shankar, explaining the trigger for the rebranding. “The question was to do tactical things or build sustainable leadership.”
He added that Star Plus’ content was also not reflecting the changes in audience preferences in the country.
Rupert Murdoch’s son James, who oversees News Corp.’s businesses in the Asia-Pacific, favoured reinventing the channel rather than making cosmetic changes, according to Shankar.
Star’s India chief believes the new brand promise is already reflected in characters such as Pratigya, from a show named after her.
“She is an ordinary girl who marries into a rich feudal family but does not submit to what’s unfair,” Shankar said. “These women steer families into a new direction.”
The change will also be evident in soap operas such as Tere Liye, Chand Chupa Badal Mein, and MasterChef, a new cookery reality show, he said.
Executives at Zee TV, Colors and NDTV Imagine declined to comment on Star Plus’ recast.
L.S. Krishnan, president of Radar, a Mudra Group unit, said rebranding rejuvenates and provides a fresh perspective. “It’s not really about television ratings, though that could be an added benefit,” he said. “This is about reassuring stakeholders, advertisers and joint venture partners that you’re bringing more energy into the brand.”
More competition is expected in the Hindi TV entertainment space, as the Reliance-Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group is set to launch some TV channels.
Shankar said it was easy to enter the segment but it’s a business that’s difficult to sustain. “Here the winner takes (it) all.”