'Jassi' slip slides on ratings rink; poll winds blamed

MUMBAI: Sony Entertainment Television's (SET) ace in the pack Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahi is by far the most marketed serial when compared to any other serial on any other channel.

All that effort has not been enough to shore up its numbers in the latest ratings charts with the show falling out of the all-India Top 50. It has dipped even below other Sony shows like Balaji soap Kkusum and detective series CID.

In the latest Tam data for the Top 100 shows for the period 16 May - 22 May, Jassi... dipped below the half way mark and stood at the 52nd position with a TRP of 3.0 in the CS4+ segment and was at the 47th spot in the CS4+ Hindi speaking markets with TRPs of 4.36 during the same week. Interestingly the top shows on Sony were C.I.D and Kkusum with TRPs of 3.2 and 3.1 respectively during the same period.

Sony however, is putting up a brave face and has laid the blame for the sorry numbers at the election door. It is not just the former BJP-led ruling coalition that has been dealt a knockout punch by the Indian voter looks like. The Indian elections had the audience's undivided attention and news channels were hogging all the limelight, is the argument that has been put forth.

Sony Entertainment Television vice president - new product development Venita Coelho had this to say about Jassi's sudden slide, "There was total political mayhem during that time." As to why C.I.D. raced ahead of Jassi, Coelho says, "By Friday (which is when the detective series airs) things had settled down. And since C.I.D airs on Friday, its viewership went up." And Kkusum? "Whereas in Kkusum, during that week, we were laying the ground for the next week and there was a major spike in the storyline when we showed consummation between Kkusum's daughter Kumud and Garv. So that's what worked for the serial during that week."

Next stop for Jassi... Singapore it is!

Coelho added, "The environment was such at that time that the whole country was glued to the political scenario. So news channels ate into the ratings of all others shows, not only Jassi... So it was the news channels that provided entertainment to the viewers during that time and not the general entertainment channels."

In the weeks starting 2 May and 9 May, Jassi... sat at the 35th position for the same TG. Since its launch in August last year the highest it has ever reached on the ratings ladder is the 26th position on 5 November 2003 with a TRP of 5.1.

Jassi..., meanwhile, continues to get promotional and marketing support with the latest being actor Saif Ali Khan making a cameo appearance on the show. Whether this will perk up the ratings for the show remains to be seen though.

The Saif spin is just the latest of a number of brand associations that have been worked around Jassi. Apart from earlier tie-ups with Maruti Zen and Kelloggs cornflakes, the latest on Jassi... is that Jassi along with Armaan and her friend Nandu are zooming off to Singapore to explore business opportunities there. The Singapore episode will air on 3 June. "We were approached by the Singapore Tourism Board where they wanted us to bring Jassi to Singapore, so we incorporated that in our script," SET senior vice president (marketing) Albert Almeida informed last week.

"We are continuously adding new and refreshing touches to the show. The ratings are not really important as we believe that Jassi... is fundamentally a great product. Keeping in mind Indian culture, we are adopting a lot of local stuff in the show but at the same time we are also maintaining the central story line," Coelho said.

More and more out-of-the-box activities and innovations is what Sony is looking at... and the latest on this is that Jassi is going 'Wakaw'!!! Wannabe superstar Vivek Oberoi, brand ambassador of Vanilla Coke, is set to make an appearance in his Elvis grab on Jassi very soon. However, Sony officials and Madison (media planning agency for Vanilla Coke) are remaining tight lipped. For the time being at least, wait and watch seems to be the buzz word. And hope the ratings perk up of course.

A soap opera to beat the best that Hindi entertainment television had to offer. That is how many saw the just concluded general elections. And a "real" soap has just endorsed that view.

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