Television

Zee's Thursday prime time movie gamble is working, confirms ORG-Marg study

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MUMBAI: When the going gets tough, the tough get going. That's an oft-quoted adage. And it's most relevant to the once-ruler of Indian TV land - Zee TV. For the past two-three years, it has been struggling to get back into the viewership sweepstakes under CEOs and programmers who came and went with rapid regularity.

But chairman Subhash Chandra did not let the successive failures weigh him down. Instead around six months ago, he rolled up his own sleeves and got into the nitty-gritty of running Zee TV as he used to in its early days.

The first of his gambles was with movies. He bought a bunch of them- all recent releases with big star casts - paying top dollar for the telecast rights. Some said he was frittering good money after a bad idea. After all he was seeking to air Hindi movies at prime time on a weekday (Thursday), something which had not been attempted before.

That gamble seems to be paying off. At least if one goes by the day after recall study amongst 300 respondents done by market research agency ORG-Marg across six cities - Mumbai, Ludhiana, Lucknow, Jaipur, Bhopal and Meerut for each movie starting with Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai. The interviews were conducted among Adults from SEC A, B, C having a C&S connection. 

The study has come up with some heartwarming results for the doughty Chandra. That the channel has got enviable penetration and that the audience profile of Zee TV may be changing as its attraction for younger audiences grows and that both men and women are watching the movie action.

For starters, the ORG-Marg study revealed that Zee TV as a channel is available across SECs and across cities. Sony was slightly less tuned on in smaller metros and in Mumbai. Star Plus was of course the leader excepting that it trailed Zee TV in just one city Jaipur. 

More than that what was of greater import to Chandra is how the movie gamble was panning out. Very good says, the recall study. Consider its viewer findings for Zee TV's Thrusday prime time movie block:

Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai 

* 40 per cent of households (HHs) across the six cities watched the movie. 

*In every HH almost three people watched the movie making the viewership much wider. 

* In Mumbai, 49 per cent of the HHs watched the movie. 

*In Meerut the viewership was as high as 52 per cent and in Jaipur 43 per cent. 

*42 per cent viewers watched the entire film while 80 per cent watched at least half of it.

*The mean age of a person watching the Tushaar Kapoor starrer was 29.6 years. 

Om Jai Jagdish 

* The movie was watched by over a third of all the HH's. 

*47 per cent HHs in Mumbai and Lucknow watched the movie. 

* 39 per cent watched the entire movie while 80 per cent watched at least half the film.

* The mean age of the viewer was 30.1 years.

Mujhse Dosti Karoge 

*The movie had the highest viewership of 42 per cent.

*It had more than 50 per cent viewership in Mumbai and Jaipur 

* In all other cities the viewership was more than one third of the HHs.

* 46 per cent watched the entire film while 81 per cent watched at least half of it. 

* The mean age of the viewer was 29.1 years.

Little John 

* The movie had a viewership of 24 per cent.

* It had the highest viewership in Mumbai and Meerut.

* The mean age of the viewer was 27.9 years.

The study revealed that in the case of all movies more than 60 per cent of the viewers were less than 30 years old. In the case of Little John 73 per cent of the viewers were less than 30 years old. (The movie was targeted at kids and was shown on 14 November, Children's Day.

As far as who controlled the remote during the movies, the survey has revealed that for Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai and Little John, both women and men tuned in almost equally across all the cities and SECs. Slightly more women tuned into watch Om Jai Jagdish and Mujhse Dosti Karoge., which was also the case for Mumbai and Ludhiana for all the movies. 

Now all that Chandra has to do is continue to attract and retain viewers and repeat the same legerdemain on other days too. While observers say it will take some doing, others point out that nothing can be put past the bidi-smoking, goateed rice-trader-turned-media entrepreneur.

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