Television

Hindi general entertainment channels dip, Sony bucks the trend

MUMBAI: Hindi general entertainment (GEC) space was in jeopardy in 2004 with the genre dipping in share year-on- year. Across all Hindi GEC channels, 2004 saw a few consolidating their positions and a few dip. The only two channels that bucked the dipping trend were Sony and Zee.

Sony's day-part channel share jumped to 21 per cent in 2004, up from 19 per cent in 2003, according to TAM data in the C&S 4+ Hindi speaking markets (HSM). Zee, on the other hand, witnessed a one per cent rise to 13 per cent in 2004.

Compare this with Star Plus which dipped from 59 per cent share in all day C&S 4+ HSM to 55 per cent in 2004. Sahara One and Sab TV also witnessed a dip of one per cent each.

Talking specifically in terms of viewership, Sony witnessed a growth of 4.62 per cent while Zee grew 2.38 per cent. Star Plus dropped by 12.81 per cent, Sahara One by 20.83 per cent and Sab TV by 20 per cent. The overall GEC space saw a dip of 6.40 per cent.

Prime time, defined as 8 - 11 pm, again saw Sony as the only channel to grow its share from 19 to 25 per cent. Zee maintained status quo at 9 per cent, all the rest witnessing a dip. The Hindi general entertainment genre saw a nine per cent fall in category viewership in prime time.

In the male C&S 4+ TG, Sony recorded a growth of 3.57 per cent in all day viewership and a 16.59 per cent surge in prime time viewership. The female C&S 4+ TG also grew by 3.9 per cent in all day viewership and 16.6 per cent in prime time viewership. All other channels witnessed huge dips in their all day and prime time viewership. Hindi general entertainment as a whole slid by 5.7 per cent in the female c&s 4+ all day viewership and by 8.3 per cent in prime time viewership. Males C&S 4+ Hindi GEC dipped by 7.56 per cent in all day viewership and by 10.38 per cent in prime time viewership.

SONY MILESTONES IN 2004

    The only channel to grow in Primetime

    Recorded highest growth across the day

    Grew its shares in prime time from 19% to 25%

    Brought in 1million new viewers in 2004

    'Indian Idol being the highest rated launch in 2004 with over 39 million viewers

PROGRAMMING INITIATIVES

2004 saw Sony focus on their positioning statement, dishing out distinct and unique content. The channel's key shows saw strategic revivals of Kkusum, Crime Patrol and CID which now features regularly among the Top 50 slots.

Speaking to Indiantelevision.com, Sony business head Tarun Katial points out, " Sony did a re-activation number this year following a dynamic programme strategy path for genres on television in India. Considering, the overall GEC category dipped by 9 per cent, Sony has single handedly managed to grow it prime time shares from 19 to 25 per cent."

Fridays also went through a make-over with Crime Petrol sporting a new look, new faces on Devi and CID and the launch of Aahat 2.

Coming to the special programming initiatives, a special episode on CID marked Independence Day which delivered a TVR of 2.9 in the C&S 4+ HSM. Also the show entered the Guniess book of records for its record breaking special shoot( a 110 minute long single-shot episode) delivering a rating of 4.7 TVR.

The channel also launched ten new shows with the aim of increasing the depth of original programming. Leading the lot was Indian Idol which had been the highest rated launch in 2004 with over 39 million viewers. The show consistently featured among the top 10.

Sony, consciously, also reduced their movie content and increased original content, as too much dependence on movies they believed was not healthy. Although, the channel did go for strategic acquisitions like Koi Mil Gaya and Kal Ho Na Ho.

Aap Jaisa Koi, an event organised in this year showcasing all the stars on Sony in a dance and musical performance will now become an annual property. Katial explained that the event gave them leadership slots and did well for the popularity of their stars.

DISTINCTIVE MARKETING INITIATIVES:

Sony in 2004 also unleashed some of the most innovative and aggressive communication campaigns. The first being the Jassi anniversary special cover with a special cancellation stamp, Satya Paul for Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin collection as well as Jassi visiting the Secretaries association in Delhi where she gave out the best secretary award.

The launch of Ye Meri Life Hai saw road shows branded notebooks at colleges and conducted contests and promotions in 300 schools to ensure popularity of the show.

The 'Sab Kuch Bhula De' campaign for Indian Idol weaved in street singers, branded rickshaws, post-its with contestant calls for votes stuck on newspapers. The channel also raised the confidence level of their stakeholders as they won various awards and accolades for its distinctive programming and marketing efforts at prestigious Television Awards such as the Promax, Indian Telly Awards, HHITA, Apsara Guild Awards and Industry Awards such as the Provogue Achiever's Award, EMVIES, Awards by Dainik Bhaskar.

LOOKING AHEAD

Katial says, " Taking our positioning forward is key in 2005."

This year will witness the makeover of Pooja from YMLH, the much awaited makeover of Jassi and an Indian Idol.

On the anvil is also a slew of reality products and docudramas. The first of the lot being Rihayee featuring Rajeshwari Sachdev and Nakul Vaidya which is slated for launch in February.

Reality-talent shows though will continue to be an integral component of the channel's programming strategy with shows incorporating real life issues led stories. Four differentiated mass soaps will also be launched this year, with the finale of Jassi...

Another key focus will be the afternoon slot and efforts will be made to spruce up that band.

All in all Sony, surely packed in a lot of punch in 2004. The channel's growth is definitely a good sign considering the holistic picture of the general entertainment space. Will 2005 be the turning point for the number two general entertainment channel or will it continue to play second fiddle? Let us wait and watch!

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