Alpha Marathi rides on event based shows

MUMBAI: Not serials and not news. It is event based shows that is helping catapult Alpha Marathi, the regional offering from the Zee family, among the top watched channels in Maharashtra.

Combining ground events and public ceremonies into televised attractions, the channel is striking the right chord with Maharashtrian viewers, and now boasts GRPs of 174, ahead of ETV Marathi's GRP of 145 and DD10 Sahyadri's 108 (all day GRPs, all Maharashtra, for week ended 30 August) in the crucial TG of females 15 plus, SEC ABC. 

The channel's live coverage of the Janmashtami celebrations in the state as well as the Ganesh festival featured among the top 10 shows on Marathi channels, recently. The Alpha Mahakarandak, a one-act drama competition for colleges has spawned interest in the channel in various towns in Maharashtra. Also, the show Campus - a fair war, based on the drama festival figures in the top 10 shows for Marathi channels, pulling in TVRs of over four, a good score for a regional channel. 

Nivdak Pu La, an old show telecast on Doordarshan a decade ago, topped the ratings stakes some weeks ago for Alpha with a TVR of 4.12. Although business head Nitin Vaidya is loath to admit as much, Alpha Marathi's viewership in some timebands is behind only that of Star Plus and Sony in Maharashtra, and ahead of flagship channel Zee TV.

The rising popularity of shows like Nakshatranche Dene (poetry reading sessions attended by celebrities), soaps like Wadalvaat and Avantika and the regional news capsules has Alpha Marathi delivering 51 per cent viewership from SEC A and B, says a beaming Vaidya, quoting TAM statistics. The return of Zee to TAM data could not have come at a luckier time for Alpha, when the figures supplied by the rating agency help it to assert its status among the three contenders - DD's Sahyadri, ETV Marathi and Alpha itself. 

Vaidya now has his sights set on luring in the advertiser with some hard facts. Apart from planning a first time outdoor campaign in the state to build brand awareness, the channel is targeting media planners and ad agencies with statistics of huge citizen participation in its ground ventures which it says, translates into viewership. Retail advertising is flowing in to the channel, courtesy local businesses, which understand the pulse of the local viewer. 

While retail is equally important for the channel, it is the big business the channel is now targeting, bolstered as it is with a solid viewer base and TAM figures. While Mumbai and bigger cities continue to be Alpha Marathi's strongholds, the ground events are now an effort to penetrate into the smaller towns, where ETV remains a close second in C&S homes.

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