Star Plus rules the comedy roost too

MUMBAI: The numbers say it all. Star's funny side is outshining the sunniest of laugh riots on other channels, with Sab and Sahara TV marking the next largest territory on the television comedy scene.

TAM television ratings (TVR) for comedy programmes, based on a survey of cable and satellite households that tuned in during the week starting 3 August 2003, give away some interesting trends. If the numbers are to be believed, the ratings seesaw is leaning heavily in Star's favour.

Those who tuned in during the week to whet their appetite for comedy showed a marked preference for Star Plus' Shararat which tops the line across the markets to claim the number one slot with a TVR of 9.89 in the Gujarat market, 10.02 in the Hindi belt, and a very encouraging 13.59 in the PHCHP market. The PHCHP market covers viewership in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, and Himachal Pradesh.

Barely does any other comedy crawl anywhere near Shararat. Those that come close, if at all, are Tu Tu Main Main of Star Plus which notches a 2.92 in the Gujarat markets and Hukum Mere Aaka of Sahara TV, which marks number three with a TVR of 2.39. Hum Saath Aath Hain of Star plus hogs the ratings in the PHCHP and UP markets with the TVR hovering around 3.0 over the week.

Interestingly, with a relatively new Shararat holding sway over the funny side, Rajiv Mehra could well be the next comedy king. Though it wouldn't be objective to slot people like Rajiv Mehra of Shararat and Office Office as comedy specialists, the success of Shararat close on the heels of Office Office on Sab TV could be fuel enough.

Affirming this, in a way, is the fact that Shararat raised the market share for Star Plus to 54.78 in PHCHP while the UP and Gujarat markets saw a channel share of 37.45 and 30.66 respectively. While Zee doesn't figure anywhere on the top ten lists for the three markets, Sony finds mention at number eight on the top ten for the Gujarat and UP markets and takes the number six place in PHCHP with a TVR of 1.66. With dismal numbers for Sony and Zee, the mass channels, it seems, are lagging behind in the race to tickle the funny bone of a nation preoccupied by gut wrenching family drama and game shows.

Clearly, for the week starting 3 August, it was largely Star Plus that was firmly parked in the comedy zone with four of its comedies ranking in the top ten and with Sahara managing a balancing act with four of its own but with weaker TVRs.

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