UTV Bindass, the youth channel launched in September 2007, which competes with India’s other youth television channels MTV, Zoom and Channel [V], is on a high. Between April 2009 and January 2010, it has managed to zip ahead of competition in viewership, grabbing the lead in monthly channel viewership ratings — in terms of gross rating points or GRPs.
Heather Gupta, channel head, UTV Bindass, says, “Our core target viewership of 18-to-24-year-olds — college students and first-time job holders — has gone up from 2.5 million in April 2009 to 5.2 million in January 2010. That’s a jump of 105 per cent.”
She quotes TAM (Television Audience Measurement) viewership figures to support her claims. Bindass has seen a 135 per cent increase in GRPs and a 73 per cent increase in percentage reach between April 2009 and January 2010.
A spokesperson from TAM confirms that the channel has stayed consistently at the top on viewership ratings, since April 2009 if we consider youth in one-million-plus population townships in the Hindi speaking market.
Gupta attributes the channel’s performance to a “challenge model”, which is primarily about challenge-based reality shows, interspersed with some smaller fun segments. “Our programmes Dadagiri, Big Switch and Emotional Atyachar have worked very well. Starting from Dadagiri 2 in July last year, we are very encouraged by the growth in viewership numbers that have risen steadily.
The time period between 6 pm and midnight, which Gupta calls prime time, is important. “We typically have three-four programmes in this time band, interspersed with small five-to-15 minute short, sharp segments such as Beg Borrow Steal, Two Idiots and Made In India. Our target audience typically has access to the world, is bombarded with media and is very restless. It is very aware and wants to associate with several things. Even with programmes that have repeat seasons, we have to ensure something new each time.”
The biggest winner, of course, is originality, she asserts. “Our content concepts are totally original, absolutely Indian and are copyrighted by us.”
It’s all about freshness combined with fun, she says. The channel’s formula is about the “duality of fun with responsibility”. Besides, programming such as Big Switch is being extended on the ground with slum cleaning drives. Other such on-the ground initiatives are on.
Riding sharply on its viewership success, the channel has just released a multimedia advertising campaign showcasing its target audience in stating its own attitude. “The buzz,” says Gupta, “is happening. Our advertising tagline of ‘What I am’ reflects it and is an effort to maximise the value of the UTV Bindass brand.”