Television

Sony had 'K3G', but channel loyalty fetches Star better ratings on 31 Dec: media buyers

MUMBAI: Sony may have managed a programming coup of sorts on the last day of 2002 by slotting Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (K3G) at prime time, but it was Star Plus with its hotch potch of television artistes that walked away with better ratings.

Media planners agree that it was channel loyalty that fetched Star better ratings, although Sony had arguably the best programming available for those who stayed in on the evening of 31 December. TAM data just out reveals that Star Plus' Kasamm Se, a medley of entertainment that started at 11 pm, ranked 11 in the top 100 in C&S homes all India, raking in ratings of 6.58. Planners point out that while K3G drew in most viewers in the initial hour, Star weaned away some in the two hours before midnight. Cumulatively, the film, Sony's biggest acquisition after Lagaan this year, managed a TVR of 4.75, ranking 22nd in the top 100 in all India C&S homes. 

Lagaan, aired on the Sunday before Diwali, had incidentally, helped Sony climb into the top 10 with a TVR of 7.6, although it aired for a marathon five hours, from 7 pm till midnight. Mudra's Amit Ray however believes that Sony did reasonably well, going down only marginally after Star ate into its programme. He maintains that K3G was a good media buy despite Star's TVR triumph, as clients must have reckoned for an average TVR of 5 or 6 and got what they wanted. Analysing TVRs across cities, Ray points out that in places like Mumbai, Sony suffered only marginally after the Star show started by dipping from a TVR of 10.7 to 9.4 while Star climbed substantially from 4.5 to 13. A similar story is echoed in Delhi and the North, where viewers, tuned in to other channels including Sony, DD and regional channels moved to Star for a while. "Sony's loss, per se, however, was not significant," he points out. 

Agrees Madison's Punitha Arumugam, pointing out that it is one more example of the fact that Star has become the default channel for C&S audiences. Citing the example of Dil Chahta Hai, which raked in better ratings than Gadar (which had done vastly better than DCH in theatres across the country), Arumugam says it is the channel and not the show that has indicated the success of the yearender shows too. As regards the cost efficiency of the deals and whether media planners were happy at the returns from investing in Sony on 31 December, she says it also depended on how the deal was structured. "But", she concurs, "K3G was packaged phenomenally." The promos and the interstitials woven around the film should also have made clients happy, she points out. 

Both Arumugam and Ray agree that the ad clutter during K3G however was much higher, a fact that may have caused viewer migration to other channels in the minutes that led to the New Year. By contrast, the dubbed version of Titanic which aired on Star Gold raked in a TVR of 2.65, ranking 90th while Gadar, that aired on Zee Cinema, failed to figure in the top 100 at all.

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