Television

Will 'Kasautii' oust top 'K' shows from ad buyers' lists?

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MUMBAI: It is boom time for ad buyers and media planners who had earlier opted for the current surprise toppers on Star Plus.



For the third week in a row, neither Kyunkii... nor Kahaani... figure in the top slots, quite unlike their previous records. In the week 25 May to 31 May 2003, Kasautii Zindagii Kay was the number one show in C&S households with a TRP of 10.4, according to TAM.



While media buyers who initially opted for these surprise hits thanks to clients' financial constraints are now rubbing their hands in glee, the ones that opted for the top 'K' shows are bound to expect some rebate.



Although from the same production house- Balaji Telefilms, Kasautii - which has now consolidated its position in the numbers game, hasn't been top on the list of media buyers till now. Neither have the current number two and three, Aruna Irani's Des Mein Niklla Hoga Chand with a TRP of 9.4 nor UTV's Kehta Hai Dil with a TRP of 8.9. With both Kyunkii... and Kahaani... ousted from the top position, the scene however seems to be changing.



Although the top shows might have changed, it has been an inter-juggling for the channel - Star Plus. Like in past weeks, the channel continued its dominance in the TRP charts, with its shows bagging 48 out of 50 top programmes in the C& S households in the ratings just out.



Surprisingly, the most common reason for a rise in the TRP figures - a sudden dramatic twist or a new character does not seem to be the case here. Both, Kasautii..... and Des..., claim to have risen to the spot gradually. According to Kasautii Zindagi Kay's creative director Nivedita: "Kasautii... is a clean fuss free, linear love story with good characterisation aka Prerna-Anurag and now Bajaj. While we do have parallel tracks, they don't take your focus off the main protagonists unlike other soaps, which fluctuate between tracks." But she does admit that the rise in the last few weeks is because the audience is getting to know the better side of Bajaj, who was hitherto a grey character.



Even Aruna Irani refuses to have introduced a twist-in-the-tale just to get the TRPs. "If I had an ace up my sleeve, I would have used it long ago. While the initial weeks might have been disappointing, the show began climbing the popularity charts ever since it registered with viewers. Des.... that claimed the most eyeballs in the previous week (for the week 5 May to 10 May 2003) had tried to experiment with the 'Mihir' trick (read claimed dead and brought back to life ) but Irani dismisses it as simply a coincidence. It is the simplicity of the track, a single central story besides strong characterisation of the 'other' characters that had help it bag the place, she maintains.



Media planners, meanwhile, have adopted a wait and watch stance. According to Optimum Media Solutions media controller Kunal Jamuar: "For any trend to be recognised as substantial, we would look at a four week period, hence no change in plans for now. However, there is no doubt that there is a decline in the two K's. We had taken the second rung serials, which are now topping the charts in our campaign earlier. Hence, the rate freeze ensures that we do not pay a higher price for the new chart toppers."



He also offers that Star Plus is unlikely to change the 'K' rate so fast as it would be tantamount to admitting that their premiere serials are no longer the number one now. But now since someone else deserves that price, he anticipates that there should be a reciprocal drop in rates for the two 'K's.



MediaCom planning director Mamatha Morvankar voiced the same opinion. "We are at the end of our deal consumption on Star Plus and hence are not reacting to these changes. However, Kyunki and Kahaani are becoming too expensive. They have hiked their prices after we began the deal, so clients are re-negotiating the rates on these programmes. However, if Star Plus does not change its FPC before CAS, we can expect the 9-10 pm programmes (Mon-Thurs) to be priced higher than 10-11pm for the new deals to be started from 1 July."



MediaCom media director (buying and planning) Harish Shriyans seconds the opinion. "If a programme is slipping in terms of "GRP", there is another which is doing better and shall make up the loss. For existing clients where you already have a deal, there is no question of paying higher rate, however, for a new advertiser/deal, I guess the channel will definitely try and get better pricing," he said.



Meanwhile, Balaji creative head Ektaa Kapoor is not about to just let things drift as far as the two 'K's are concerned. In an interview yesterday to the Indian Express, Kapoor claims to have spruced the Kahaani... track and says that the results should be seen in the coming weeks.

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