Sony tweaks timings to give 'YMLH' a boost

MUMBAI: Sony Entertainment Television took a bold step by pitching their new show Ye Meri Life Hai (YMLH) against Star Plus' stalwart show Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii in the 10 pm slot. The big question was - how to get Kahaani's loyalists to watch YMLH in the crucial first week?



Here's how. The week YMLH launched (3 May - 6 May); Sony adopted the strategy that a lot of channels abroad have already tried and tested. The channel made a 'slight' strategic change in the timings of Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin, which airs at 9:30 pm, so that YMLH would start airing five-seven minutes before Kahaani... on Star Plus.

Jassi... which airs at 9:30 pm from Monday to Thursday, was cleverly started 10 minutes before the scheduled time on the day YMLH was launched. Speaking on the time change, SET executive VP Sunil Lulla said, "It was a deliberate strategy that we adopted in the first week of YMLH's launch to get initial viewership. We are not going to continue it forever. But we may adopt it on occasions."

While Lulla refused to elaborate further on what "occasions" would this strategy be adopted for YMLH, he added however that the show had opened well and that there had been a 100 per cent increase in viewership. The show although, has failed to make its presence felt in the Top 100 shows in the TAM ratings till now.

Talking about the marketing initiatives, SET senior vice president (marketing) Albert Almeida said, "We were pitching Ye Meri Life Hai against an established show on an established channel, so we knew that we had to break the viewers' existing habit with something different and also via the story."

Targeted at the age group 15 - 24 years, SET is going to any lengths to get the eyeballs from the TG who in return will advocate and influence their family. Almeida said, "Ye Meri Life Hai has had an encouraging opening and has exceeded our expectations. It got a TVR of 5.3 in the week of its launch in the 15-24 females demographic. In Mumbai it opened at a good 8.7 in the same segment and we will be looking at doing things that compliments our strategy of getting viewers to the show."

Elaborating further on the viewers, the brand opportunities that YMLH would attract and the kind of backdrop the show had (that of a college) Almeida said, "YMLH is in its early days right now but even before we kicked off our campaigns for the show, we knew that we would have a lot of brand opportunities with brands like Pepsi, Lipton, Lays and the likes and we have strategically placed them against the college background in the show. We also seamlessly integrated director Karan Johar in the show and there are a whole lot of other things that can be done."

Talking about the way Jassi was used to propagate YMLH, Almedia said, "When we were launching Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin, we used characters from our serials like Kkusum, Devi, Heena and C.I.D and got them talking about Jassi because they were the characters that the viewers related to. Now, it is Jassi that the viewers relate to and her character is very similar to the character of Pooja in YMLH. These characters also echo the sentiments of an average middle class Indian girl."

He further added, "When we launched Jassi..., we had tied up with INCableNet in Mumbai where they had scrolls on their channel telling people to call on a particular number if they wanted to speak to Jassi. In this way we got viewers' attention. Almost 60 per cent viewers of Mumbai get INCable Net so it worked out well for us."

Since its launch, Jassi... has been getting all kinds of promotional and marketing pushes which continue even today. The latest tie-up being with Yash Raj Films' new movie Hum Tum for which the channel tailored the script a bit and incorporated Saif Ali Khan in the serial on recently. While Jassi... still rides high on such innovative tie-ups, YMLH still has to catch up on those lines as yet.

The latest on the Jassi... front however, post the Hum Tum tie-up, is a tie-up with the Singapore Tourism Board. Almeida said, "In the episode that will air on 3 June, Jassi will take a trip to Singapore to explore business opportunities there and see fashion houses there. We were approached by the Singapore Tourism Board where they wanted us to bring Jassi to Singapore, so we incorporated that in our script."

But wouldn't that mean deviating from the original script of Ya Soy Betty La Fea? (When Jassi... was launched, the channel and the producers had very vociferously stated that they would not be deviating from the original script). To this Almeida said, "Jassi... is our licensed product and we have to Indianise and localise it for our viewers here. And for that we have to make a few changes so that the viewers relate to the show."

While more innovations can be expected on Jassi... it remains to be seen what the channel has lined up for YMLH apart from the 'slight' time change strategy.

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