Over the last few years, competition for eyeballs in the Hindi general entertainment space has usually heated up in the winter-festive season.
This year, starting from August, each month has a huge festival coming up. And alongside that, there’s a bunch of big-budget reality and daily shows to watch out for.
Though there’s no confirmation whether Khatron Ke Khiladi Season Five will see the light of day this year, shows like Sur Kshetra, India’s Got Talent Season Four, Kaun Banega Crorepati Season Six, Laugh India Laugh, Shabash India, Nanhe Superstars, Masterchef India Season Three and Bigg Boss are gearing up to fight for TRPs.
Most leading GECs (general entertainment channels), according to industry estimates, have anything between Rs 120 to Rs 300 crore kept aside as the year’s programming budget, out of which a large chunk is spent to create non-fiction shows and promote them.
Sahara One’s Sur Kshetra’s overall production cost, that was supposed to be Rs 25 crore, apparently shot up to Rs 55 crore, minus the promotion cost.
Channels reserve their most prestigious content — fiction and non-fiction — for this window, given that advertisers and brands are willing to invest and be seen. This year, industry insiders believe there’s at least Rs 250-300 crore riding on these shows.
The only dry spell that the TV industry has seen in recent times during the festive season was in October-November 2008 when shows had stopped shooting. According to N. P. Singh of Sony Entertainment, the festival period is the time when most FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) brands actively splurge on their visibility in the market, even if it means paying premium prices for ad slots.
“It’s economically advisable for a channel to cash in on its content. Brands get their share of visibility and buyers,” he says, adding, “On an average, if a year registers growth of 12 per cent for the TV industry, the growth during this period alone shoots up to 20-25 per cent. Most advertisers and media marketing agencies reserve a big chunk of their ad and marketing budgets for this season.”
He points out that audience research indicates that an average discerning viewer prefers to watch fresh and lively content on TV during this part of the year, as much as he likes to shop. “It’s easier to get sponsors for shows during the festive season.”
Suresh Mishra of Sahara One agrees, adding, “The period means great business for channels. But big shows mean more preparation and often involve big names from Bollywood and music industries. One also has to plan shows keeping the availability of big stars in mind.”
Does that lead to an excessively divided TRP chart? “Not really,” says Mishra. “It leaves the viewer with many choices and forces channels to pull up their socks and work harder to get their content noticed.”