Last year, during the third Indian Premier League, Pavitra Rishta on Zee TV occupied the top slot for several weeks on the viewership charts issued by TAM India every week. This year, the soap has moved to the top slot in the middle of the World Cup that started on February 19. The show has averaged at 5.5 points. Now at No. 2, Zee TV has surged ahead of its closest competitor, Colors, with 233 points. Colors, meanwhile, is placed third with 225 points, while Star Plus leads with 297. However, Sab TV has beaten Sony Entertainment as the former has gathered 153 points and the latter, 136 points.
While cricketing nations have been battling it out on the field, channels are competing with each other, and with the number of eyeballs that the matches fetch from late afternoon till late in the evening. In the weekday prime time slots between 7 pm and 11.30 pm, Star Plus has scored 156 points and Zee, makes for a close second at 154 points. Colors is on No. 3 with 145 points. To fight the World Cup, leading Hindi GECs (General Entertainment Channels) have aired special episodes and high points on daily soaps, as well as a bunch of new movies on weekends.The new No. 2 now plans to go aggressive and occupy the top slot within the next few months. Akash Chawla, head of marketing, Zee TV, says, "For us, it’s a big one this week because we’ve overtaken one of our closest competitors. For the last eight weeks, we’d been fighting out and on most occasions, we were leading with our daily prime time shows, with only Star Plus ahead of us."
A year and a half ago, Zee TV had overtaken Colors and Star Plus, and reached the No. 1 slot. Since then it has been shuffling between No. 2 and No. 3. How does the channel now plan to sustain its new lead? “It’s business. It’s unfair to think that our competing channels won’t make any efforts,” says Chawla. “Our ratings have always helped us sustain numbers. If you carefully analyse our figures, we’ve been going strong. We’ve taken three IPL seasons head on. This year, we’ll do the same with the World Cup.”