Television

Star on rebound in 9 pm slot, 14 % rise in slot share

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MUMBAI: The 9-10 pm slot in the Hindi entertainment space, traditionally defined as the peak of prime time, seems to be swinging back lead channel Star Plus' way.

Over the last month (Week 44 - 47) Star Plus seems to have consolidated its position in the 9 to10 pm band with its share for the slot having risen 14 per cent.

It is this band that Star Plus airs its hourly soaps Mondays through to Thursdays --- Des Mein Nikhla Hoga Chand (DMNHC), Kehta Hain Dil (KHD), Sanjivani and Saara Akash.

Flashing back, the 9-10 pm band on Star Plus had shown a decline in ratings which became a point of concern for the channel. Looking at ratings during the September-October period (Week 40-43) Plus' 9-10 pm saw DMNHC receive an average TVR of 7.7, KHD 10.1, Sanjivani 8.9 and Saara Aakash 8.2.

Des Mein Nikla Hoga Chand has shown an increase of 17 per cent in average TVR in the period week 44-47 compared to wk 40-43 with ratings moving from 7.7 to 9.1 TVR. Kehta Hai Dil has moved from 10.1 to 10.6 TVR and Saara Akash moving from 8.2 to 8.7 TVR. Sanjivini, has been the only show that has actually dipped from 8.9 to 8.5 in this band according to TAM data.

Speaking to Indiantelevision.com, Star India creative director Shailaja Kejriwal explains, "The 9-10 pm band was at various stages in the story line, and a little bit of fatigue was seen setting in. So, we altered and tweaked the storylines, some of which was planned and some a reaction to what the competition was doing."

In DMNHC, Pammi's death saw a lot of her loyalists flirting out of the serial, but the plan to bring back Pammi as Mahi always existed. With her coming back the ratings also spruced themselves, Kejriwal points out.

Kehta Hain Dil was going through a low, getting battered by competition at one point. "Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin and Kkusum (on Sony) at one point did best on Tuesdays," says Kejriwal. To deal with this, the channel introduced a court room drama that added the much needed spice and brought back ratings.

Coming to Sanjivini, Kejriwal explains that they went the 'Savitri Satyavan' route with the hospital being held at a ransom and Rahul one of the doctors being kidnapped and DR Juhi fighting all odds and rescuing him.

Saara Akash, Kejriwal says has been going according to plan from the beginning. Although, this show has been positioned at the toughest slot (Thursdays) as both Kkusum and Jassi reach their weekly climax on this day. Also, now with Indian Idol being slotted at 9:30 pm, Saara Akash has held its own, Kejriwal opines.

Looking at revenue implications, Star India EVP ad sales Kevin Vaz says, "In between people were questioning our 9 pm band but its performance has proved that it is stable. In terms of advertisers, they seem to be worried about the split in viewership, but with the numbers back on track, you see a lot more brands coming back into the slot."

Interestingly, Sony, Star's main competitor seems to be on the downslide in the 9-10 pm band. Week 40-43 saw Kkusum at an average of 4.6 TVR and week 44-47 saw the show slip to 4 TVR. Jassi... on the other hand slipped from 4.1 to 3.3 TVR according to TAM data.

Media planners indiantelevision.com spoke offered differing opinions on Star's rise in the 9-10 band.

Lodestar media director Arpita Menon says, "Star has done fair amount of work in their 9-10 pm band. Sony has just started seeing the dip, and they are also looking to rejuvenate their serial. After seeing the resurgence of Star's 9-10 pm band, advertisers seem more open to include a larger component of their spend in this band. There has also been a rate hike, so that also has implications in the way we would structure our deals."

Starcom Worldwide general manager-Investment and new initiatives Manish Porwal offers, "Star's 9-10 pm drop can be definitely attributed to the weeklys not doing well, sagging storylines and the one-hour format. Although, after they have tweaked of storylines and focussed on this band, some amount of recovery can be seen. On the other hand the overall Star numbers have come down compared to what it was a year ago. Also, the increase in the band has not commensurate with the fall. Pre - Jassi..., the kind of command that Star had has not been recovered. "

Porwal also points out that currently Sony and Zee account for a sizable share, and their newer propoerties are also delivering. And although it is encouraging that Star has manages to gain back their audience, Sony and Zee have also to be watched out for.

Commenting on the fall on Sony, Porwal attributes this due to disturbances in the Jassi slotting. Another important point in note being that there has been an overall loss of audience in this time band across all general entertainment channels.

Mindshare's investment director Amol Dighe points out, "Some months back Star witnessed a dramatic drop in the 9-10 pm band. The drop being about 30-40 per cent, probably because of the one hour format, and Jassi being able to fragment viewers. With the relanch of DMNHC and some excitement introduced across all the shows, there has been some amount of corrective measures taken. Also, considering Star has a huge platform to promote its shows, it has been easier for them to regain lost audience. But, I don't believe the ratings will go up further and will consolidate here."

Talking about advertising implications Dighe explains that sometime back Star's 9 -10 pm band did witness a slack season, but having said that even with the drop their serials were doing relatively well. "Its definitely a positive sign."

Coming to Sony, Dighe says that Jassi.. has reached a saturation point, and it is a classic case of Sony wanting to milk the slot. He also emphasised that the makeover of Jassi has to come fast.

Overall, Star Plus today commands a 33 per cent share in the 9-10 pm (Monday - Thursday) slot.

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