Gemini uses film as bait to hook the viewer; Eenadu slackens

A higher penetration but dwindling channel shares. That is the story of Eenadu TV, till recently the leading broadcaster in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

In just one year, neck to neck rival Gemini has stolen a march over Eenadu, using programming content to capture viewers, resulting in higher channel shares in almost all time bands. According to a study undertaken by OMS, the media division of Mudra Communications, the Gemini-Eenadu warfare has undergone sufficient twists and turns to result in a complete reversal of fortunes for both channels.

The study analysed centre wise strength, physical penetration, audience profile and programming initiatives of both channels and deduced that Gemini has surged ahead with its genre mix of film based programmes and feature films. Eenadu on the other hand has game shows and nature programmes in its most popular genres, which have not drawn as much advertising.

OMS' analysis points out that while Eenadu commanded the channel shares in 2000, the trend reversed in 2001, with Eenadu losing shares across all day parts except in late prime time. In terms of channel penetration, both Gemini and Eenadu, says the study, enjoy a comfortable position. NRS data analysed by the study shows that Eenadu's penetration in almost all the towns of Andhra is higher by 1 - 2 per cent, except in areas like Machili and Nizamabad. However, the channel has taken a beating when audience profiles are compared.

While Gemini is dominated by males from the SEC C category and females from the SEC B and C categories, male viewership is not as strong in the case of Eenadu, with female viewership weights higher for Gemini. Eenadu commands a scattered viewership among SEC A and SEC B categories but apparently, not enough to bring in the advertisers.

Gemini's soaps and film based shows have helped rake in the ratings

Analysing the age group viewership patterns, the study shows that Gemini has a wider appeal across all age groups, in all probability a function of its programming content. While Eenadu is more popular with the 35 + age group throughout the day, Gemini has been commanding a fair viewership among all the age groups in all the time bands, excepting the late night band.

The reasons are not too difficult to fathom. Gemini has followed the mass appeal path laid down by Surya in Kerala. Its genre mix essentially consists of film based programmes, serials, soaps ( viz Pinni, Attama), music and Telugu feature films. Eenadu on the other hand has game shows ( Challenger 2001), nature tourism programmes like Praniprapancham and science programmes, followed by regular serials and film based programmes. Gemini has thus capitalised on the moving audience's taste for film and more film and given the viewer just what it wanted.

The study concludes that it is programming content that will be the key driver for a channel once the physical distribution of the channel is complete. Consequent analysis of viewer preference will decide the fixed point chart, which will then need to be competitively priced to appease the ad planning fraternity, it notes.

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