The battle for the No 1 player in the Hindi GEC (general entertainment channels) segment just got fiercer.
Traditional leader Star Plus, which lost its Numero Uno position to Colors in April this year, fired its latest salvo last week: a new reality show, Sach Ka Saamna, based on the international format, Moment of Truth.
According to market research agency TAM, Sach… opened to a rating of 4.59, which is very encouraging (considering that the country’s top show — Star Plus’s Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai — has a rating of 7.22).
But will the show help Star Plus reclaim its No 1 slot? Though the channel has managed to occasionally be on top in the last few months, the advantage has clearly been with the one-year-old Colors.
What Sach Ka Saamna has done is this: it has given Star Plus that much-needed drawing room buzz. Says Rajesh Kamat, CEO, Colors, “It’s very important for a channel to become a discussion point, to be on the viewers’ radar. We did that with our two prime properties last year, Khatron Ke Khiladi and Bigg Boss.” Colors has cemented its position over the months with its strategic mix of bumper reality shows and top-rated serials, supported by Bollywood blockbusters.
Reality shows create crucial drawing room buzz. Gimmicks like films and events (award functions etc) deliver spikes in viewership. But it is soaps and serials which are the staple diet, the lifeblood of every channel.
That’s why no GEC player will ever write off Zee, because many of its soaps (like Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo and Pavitra Rishta) have been showing an upward trend in ratings. A few weeks back, Zee made it to the top slot (after almost nine years), but subsequently slipped again. Says Zee COO Nitin Vaidya, “We are introducing two new serials in the next month. With this, our new primetime programming, set in motion six months ago, will be complete.”
Star Plus too is starting fresh soaps and plans to bring back the popular Aap Ki Katcheri. Colors has the next season of Khatron Ke Khiladi coming up.
As Anupam Vasudev, executive vice-president, marketing and communications, Star Plus, points out, “The tussle for leadership will continue. But yes, eventually, a leader will emerge.”