Home >Companies >Star One lines up new soaps to attract more urban women

Mumbai: Star One, the general entertainment channel (GEC) operated by Star India Pvt. Ltd, is attempting to broaden its audience base by tweaking its programming line-up to attract older women and backing the effort with an advertising campaign to popularize new soaps.

Fall in ratings: Star One general manager Nikhil Mirchandani says the channel is today clocking 50 gross rating points, against almost 100 gross rating points eight months ago. Prodip Guha / Hindustan Times

The channel will now aim at women in the age group of 15-35 years, compared with the 15-25 years age group it addressed earlier—more by default, though.

“Actually, the programming was catering to a younger audience," said Nikhil Mirchandani, general manager, Star One, at a media conference on Tuesday. “We are now targeting the emerging Indian woman."

According to media buyers, Star One has been languishing in the Hindi GEC space on account of a personality disorder; it began strictly as a youth channel, and gradually moved to programming that was more mass market.

GECs account for at least Rs4,000 crore of a television advertising market estimated at Rs11,000 crore, which in turn makes up half the country’s total ad market.

The latest television viewership data from TAM Media Research Pvt. Ltd shows Star One in the seventh position with 4% channel share, lagging its sibling Star Plus, in the No. 1 position with 24% channel share.

Mirchandani said Star One was clocking almost 100 gross rating points eight months ago, compared with 50 gross rating points today. Some of its shows such as Dil Mil Gaye and Mile Jo Hum Tum that once delivered ratings of 1.5 and 1.8, respectively, have slipped badly in ratings.

Gross rating points are the sum of television ratings over an extended period of time. “We clearly have our work cut out for us," Mirchandani said.

A host of new television shows targeting women in towns with a population of at least one million are in the offing, he said.

For a start, the first new show (Geet—Hui Sabse Parayi) is about a young woman who is a victim of a fraud marriage with a non-resident Indian. The second (Rang Badalti Odhni) is the story of a woman who avenges her husband’s death.

Supporting the two shows will be an ad campaign that will be aired on radio and television, backed by 1,200 outdoor hoardings, across 22 cities in Hindi-speaking states such as Rajasthan, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh. The channel will also use street theatre to popularize the shows.

Media buyers say that Star One’s programming changes have been long overdue.

According to Sejal Shah, executive vice-president, Starcom MediaVest Group, its shows are faring below one in ratings.

“They’ve tried differentiated strategies (targeting youth, etc.) and now they are looking at a more regular approach—soaps for females (15-35)," said Shah, adding that the approach may not be radically different, but it could work.


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