Well begun isn't half done

MUMBAI: Television channels may continue to bet big on newer and more interesting formats but how well (or otherwise) these programmes fare, at least in the long run, is something that ultimately depends on the audience.

A case in point is the big fight between Star Plus' Mahabharat and Colors' Bigg Boss Season Seven. Battle lines were drawn between the rival channels as they had geared up for the launch of two of their biggest properties.

Promotions (on-air, print OOH and on-ground) went on for months. Colors left no stone unturned, with the heaven Vs hell theme and all the suspense built around who would be the inmates of the Bigg Boss house this year. Star Plus too pulled out all stops, promising viewers the mythological battle between good and evil in a contemporary avatar.

While both the channels were hoping to up their ante with these big-ticket shows, the results are now out for everyone to see.

As per the TAM ratings, Mahabharat got off to an epic start with 8445 TVTs whereas Bigg Boss lagged behind a bit with 7711 TVTs on the day of its premiere.

Subsequently, Mahabharat, aired from Monday to Friday, garnering 6356 TVTs and the daily Bigg Boss getting 5080 TVTs. So while media planners agree that both shows have done well, going by its opening ratings, there's really no consensus as to its performance going forward.

The big question facing the channels is whether its shows will be able to sustain ratings and do justice to the kind of moolah that has been spent on them. Opines Helios Media managing director Divya Radhakrishnan: "Mahabharat is a very strong story and since, we know there are a finite number of episodes, the show won't be dragged. Hence, I believe that it will continue to do well in the coming weeks as well. But for Bigg Boss to sustain ratings, it will depend a lot on the controversies it gets into."

By contrast, a Delhi-based media planner feels that while Mahabharat started with a boom, it won't be able to match up with the gossip and entertainment provided by Bigg Boss. He points out: "A lot of people want to see what is so different in the current shows but however sometimes get disappointed with the execution. I can only hope that the disappointment doesn't turn into a blind eye for both the shows."

Another media planner adds that garnering great TVTs in the opening episodes is nothing new. "Most shows, especially reality shows, are able to generate enough enthusiasm among viewers. The real test is about holding their attention."

All we can say is while we can't predict the future, for now, both shows have gotten off to a great start...

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