Mumbai: Song-and-dance reality shows on three leading Hindi general entertainment channels (GECs)—Star Plus, Zee and Colors—failed to score high television ratings during season wrap episodes on 1 October as their timings clashed, fragmenting the audience.

Just Dance on Star Plus closed the competition hosted by actor Hrithik Roshan with a television rating (TVR) of 2.94. TVR is a function of the number of people watching a show and the amount of time they spent watching it. Sa Re Ga Ma Li’l Champs’ finale on Zee ranked number two at 2.63, followed by India’s Got Talent on Colors that scored a TVR of 2.02.

Lower numbers: Just Danceon Star Plus closed the competition hosted by actor Hrithik Roshan with a television rating (TVR) of 2.94.

TVR from TAM Media Research Pvt. Ltd reflects viewership among people in the 4-plus age group in the Hindi-speaking markets.

Star Plus, the market leader in the Hindi entertainment segment, is run by Star India Pvt. Ltd, Zee is the flagship channel for Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd and Colors is owned by Viacom 18 Media Pvt. Ltd.

Top media buyers say that the reality genre generates as much as 1,000 crore a year in advertising of which at least 25% goes to song and dance shows. The genre is growing at 15-16% annually. Anita Nayyar, chief executive of Havas Media, said that although sponsors are paying between 5 crore and 15 crore to be associated with these shows, audiences are switching in and out.

“There’s an overload of options and hence audience fragmentation. A Sa Re Ga Ma in its previous seasons may have scored a 6-7 TVR, but then there weren’t too many (similar) shows," she said.

Mona Jain, CEO of VivaKi Exchange, the media buying unit of Publicis Groupe, agreed that sponsors on some of the shows pay as much as 10 crore to 15 crore.

“A grand finale is expected to deliver a minimum rating of 5. One reason for the poor performance is that there are too many such shows and not enough viewers. There used to be a great deal of buzz around song-and-dance formats earlier but that’s not the case today," she said.

Besides, viewers are not as connected with contestants on these shows. They tune in to watch the celebrity (for a short duration) and then switch, she added.

According to Jain, Just Dance scored better than the others because its format was different and the broadcaster Star India Pvt. Ltd had crunched the ad breaks.

Nitin Vaidya, business head for Star India’s Hindi channels, said that the company was pleased with the show’s performance. “It was an experiment that Star did roping in the best talent from places like London and New York. The show was launched on a huge scale... Considering that there was a simulcast (of the finale) on StarOne, Star Pravah and Star Plus, the TVR adds up to 3.3," he said.

Joy Chakraborty, executive director of Zee Entertainment Enterprises, was also happy with the reach of Sa Re Ga Ma but said that “in actual television ratings, we could have done better. Then again, no reality show is garnering six-seven rating as they used to," he added.

There was a need to re-think some of the shows that were high on cost and low on delivery. “We have not incurred huge costs on celebrities. But channels that bank heavily on Bollywood stars bleed badly. Their sets, costumes, filming is completed in a few lakhs, but they shell out crores for the celebrity," he added.

Punitha Arumugam, CEO, Madison Media Group, said the formats shouldn’t be dismissed. She believes that sponsors get enough value on the shows as they offer many opportunities for brand integration. “It isn’t just the airtime. A reality show may deliver far more in PR and buzz value... (than) if the same inventory is bought on a soap," she said.

Although officials at Maruti Suzuki India, the presenting sponsor for Just Dance, had earlier said that the show’s TVRs did not meet expectations, Shashank Srivastava, chief general manager (marketing) at Maruti Suzuki, seemed content with the finale.

“It is a reflection of our team’s correct reading of the trends in media and the good work done by the channel. The connect with the brand Maruti Suzuki was great," he said.

Colors officials did not respond to queries.