Reclaiming the No 1 Hindi entertainment channel slot after nine long years should be cause for wild celebration. But for Zee TV COO Nitin Vaidya, the champagne can wait. “We have to first become the clear No 1,” he said.
Zee’s victory margin is wafer thin but even so, breaking the final barrier after so many years is a major psychological high for the channel. Specially since Zee’s ratings don’t come from mega reality shows or lavishly mounted soaps. Rather, they emanate from the channel’s staple of soaps and serials, with only one long-running reality show, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa.
The big driver for the channel has been Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo, about a desperately poor family in rural Bihar, launched about three months ago. Other serials, like Pavitra Rishta (about a middle-class Maharashtrian family) and Chhoti Bahu (traditional family drama) are also doing well. “We create GRPs, we don’t buy them,” said Vaidya, taking a swipe at his rivals who often run big films with almost no commercial breaks. This may make no business sense but the ratings instantly register a spike.
GRPs, or Gross Rating Points, are the sum total of TV ratings for a week.
It won’t be easy for Zee to remain No. 1 — just as it won’t be easy for Star Plus, the channel that unseated Zee in 2000, or Colors, the latest challenger. As Colors CEO Rajesh Kamat said: “We are heading towards a phase where the positions of the three top channels will keep going up and down.”
Anyone can win the next week’s ratings battle.