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GECs Gamble Big With Reality Shows On International Format

Has Zee TV decided to leave the ground for Star Plus, Sony and Colors in October’s big fight of TRP?

Rajat Arora | Delhi | September 24, 2010

A lot has changed in the General Entertainment Channels (GEC) space over the last few years in the way that entertainment is consumed but the weekly ratings keep reiterating the fact that nothing sells better than drama. The hype surrounding the upcoming big ticket shows has got most leading GECs going on an overdrive to outbeat each other this October with its non-fiction properties in the weekday prime time that are traditionally fiction slots.

There will be a big fight for TRPs among top GECs in October with the launch of KBC-4 on Sony, Bigg Boss on Colors and Masterchef India on Star Plus in prime time band. More importantly all these three shows are based upon International formats, viz. KBC is based upon UK’s ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’; Bigg Boss is based upon UK’s Big Brother; Masterchef India has come from UK & Australia. However, the International formats with bollywood stars are proved to be a hit formula for GECs in India. It is the clear indication that either the channels are lacking in generating fresh ideas or they are willing to play safe games with Indian versions of International hit reality shows. There are a couple of exceptions like Sa Re Ga Ma Pa and Dance India Dance.

Interestingly Zee TV has opted not to jump in this reality war in October and launched a new fiction show, Preet Se Bandhi Ye Dori Ram Milaayi Jodi at 9.30 pm. Zee TV shows confidence on its non-film programmes and has always managed to increase its GRPs with shows such as Choti Bahu, Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo, Ek Veer Stree Ki Kahaani Jhansi Ki Rani and Pavitra Rishta.

Has Zee TV decided to leave the ground for other channels in October’s big fight of TRP? Nitin Vaidya, COO, Zee Entertainment Enterprises and Business Head, Zee TV says, “We are not relaxing our thrust on original programming but devising innovative ways to grab more eyeballs. Whenever we have hosted an event with our stars around a highpoint in a show, we get a good response from loyal viewers & also attract new viewers. The first such was the Janmashtami event two years ago on Choti Bahu that redefined the 7.30 pm slot. We’ve also had similar very successful content innovation for 12/24 Karol Bagh (Jagrata Special), Mera Naam Karegi Roshan (Reet Ki Aayegi Baraat) & recently, Ganesh Special on Pavitra Rishta. We are confident about holding our ratings. As a platform, Zee TV has the strength and appetite to get more eyeballs and is perhaps the only channel that believes firmly that no matter what, fiction will continue to be the channel driver.”

A firm believer that Zee doesn’t formulate strategies based on non -fiction with film celebrities as they are a short term phenomenon, he says, “Non fiction shows mostly do not impact the serials beyond a point, as the stories are placed intelligently keeping in mind the disruptive element of these shows. The Top 10 shows across GEC remains high on loyalty and any impact is only short term.”

And on the weekend events, Vaidya adds, “This is not only a programming innovation but also gives marketing an opportunity to create buzz & build reach. Once content is shown as a special then we increase our viewer base and our reach also increases. Today viewers are drawn to our events because it is a wholesome entertainment spectacle. This is one content and marketing innovation that Zee TV will carry forward.”

In the very new trend, channels are showing breakfree content to gain TRPs, signing big Bollywood names and purchasing movie rights at unreal costs, do they convert to grabbing more eyeballs and revenues? Apparently not! If we look at TAM data, Dus Ka Dum, Kya Aap Panchvi Pass Hai?, Bigg Boss, Entertainment Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega, and Fear Factor have shown that shows with Bollywood celebrities create buzz and capture eyeballs only in its launch week but have not been able to sustain it for the entire season whereas fiction slots stay steady after the first week and even grow during the period. For example, the recently launched Fear Factor Khatron Ke Khiladi Season 3 with Priyanka Chopra as host that opened with TVR of 5.49 TVR (Week 37 data – TAM) has dropped to an average of 2.7 TVR in its second week (Week 38 data – TAM).

It is an old story when KBC broke all the records on television at launch. Now it is to be seen whether after 10 years too, the flooding shows on international format will be able to repeat the same success story! Leave your comments below…

Rajat.Arora@BestMediaInfo.com

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Comments (1)
  • Amrita Puri- 9 years ago

    Hi Rajat Had read your article and am sorry to say you’ve not done enough research because Dance India Dance and Meethi Chhoorii too have been copied/inspired from international formats though… dance India Dance (so you think you can dance) and Meethi Chhoorii (Sorry I cant remember the name)