Alpha tries to wrest Marathi viewers from Star Plus

MUMBAI: Regional catches up

Alpha Marathi, the local language channel from the Zee stable now is running a neck to neck battle with leader Star Plus for eyeballs in Maharashtra during prime time.

Alpha Marathi claims a preference share that's equivalent of Star Plus' in Mumbai

An ongoing Indica Research study commissioned by Alpha Marathi, the results of the first phase of which are just trickling in, indicates that the channel is only the second in terms of preference to Star Plus. While Star Plus has a preference channel share of 23 per cent in Mumbai, Alpha Marathi has an equivalent 23 per cent, while 31 per cent of sampled Maharashtrian viewers said Alpha Marathi was their 'most favourite channel' and 34 per cent opted for Star Plus.

Favoured next only to Star Plus?

The Alpha Marathi brand, with its canny mix of satire, soap and spot news has catapulted the channel far ahead of regional rivals as also flagship Zee TV. The research, conducted among 1500 Marathi speakers in the age group of 15-44 in Mumbai, Thane and Pune in the first phase, says the channel only lags a little behind Star Plus in the 'favourites' game in Pune too. 22 per cent of those sampled averred that Alpha was their 'most favourite' channel after Star Plus which garnered 27 per cent votes. The statistics show that Alpha has a preference share of 20 per cent as against Star Plus' share of 22 per cent.

The Maharshtrian heartland ranks Alpha over Marathi channel rivals, the study claims

Closest Marathi rival ETV Marathi and Doordarshan's Sahyadri channel, according to the research studies lag behind in the stakes. ETV has a preference share of 13 per cent in Mumbai and 14 per cent in Pune, while Sahyadri has a preference share of 11 per cent in Mumbai and 13 per cent in Pune.

The results of the study were used to rejig programming like bringing back the comedy series Hasat Chakatfu which was drawing in viewers even in its re-run phase. The new series will start airing from 29 December, says Alpha Marathi business head Nitin Vaidya. Another show, Pimpalpan, which was based on well known Marathi literary works, has been shifted to the Sunday afternoon slot based on the findings of the study.

Shows like Avantika, a popular soap and Shriyut Gangadhar Tipre, a cross-genre show with noted artiste Dilip Prabhavalkar in the lead, are the ones that are drawing in key audiences for Alpha Marathi currently, while a daily half hour spoof on current affairs, Ghadlay Beeghadlay, telecast at 7.30 pm and 10.30 pm daily (a slot when even Maharashtrians usually tune into Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi), has been raking in good ratings.

The first week's figures sourced from TAM show that the programme drew an average of 1.0 TVR in metros as well as the rest of Maharashtra, proving Vaidya's contention that the Marathi viewer is only waiting for quality Marathi language programming to wean him away from staple Hindi fare.

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