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For TV channels, an eventful time

Television programming is increasingly devoting more time to airing mega events and shows to increase their TVRs.

These are some of the findings of The Compass, an industry monitor published by Lodestar Media.

A channel's programming has to be a canny mix of not only news, promos but also coverage of popular events and shows. The latter has increasingly found to not only sustain viewers but increase them as well.

Lodestar evaluated channels in the four zones and three metros of the south and found that almost all channels focused on events/shows to produce a seamless mix of news and glamour.

Lodestar found that among all the channels, Star Plus came up tops with a 116 per cent higher TVRs than its nearest competitor, Sony.

Target group: All individuals. Market: 6 metros

Vacillating Viewership

Viewers do not always show brand-loyalty. With so much available on the air-waves and given some insipid content, they may quickly shift focus. The event programmers showcase, has to have real appeal and glamour to keep the viewer glued. Award shows have the requisite 'glamour' what with so many cine personalities on the same platform. These personalities ensure a person is glued to his TV.

The next most appealing fix for a viewer is the New Year glitz shows, says Lodestar, where a host of TV stars come together.

The Big Picture

With television having a host of such shows, it would seem the small screen is getting bigger than 70 mm. Lodestar says the reasons could be:

1. Film awards have been around for a long time while the ones on TV are fairly new.

2. Besides, there are far too many cine awards. In India and abroad. Not all of them do well.

The Other Genre

Besides these two genres, one does find that the lesser of the shows - fashion and lifestyle - have a niche yet dedicated audience. Lodestar says the Lakme India Fashion Week and Grasim Mr India have a large number of women (and teenagers) among the audience, Gladrags Mrs India appeals more to the teens followed by women.

Indian Stars

Contrary to print advertising, foreign stars don't find much appeal at glam shows. Shahrukh and Aishwarya are still prime attraction. The reason says Lodestar is that the Indian stars have an appeal even with the masses while the phirang hardly any.

The Methodology

To fine-tune and gauge the popularity of a particular show, Lodestar have devised a method - Target Propensity Grid - (TPR) to evaluate the popularity of a televised programme. They base it on two parameters:

1. TVR

2. Selectivity Index which provides a measure of how a target group will definitely watch a show or event come what may.

There are four variants to the TPR

Most Wanted: High viewership and a high preference. For instance, if the program targets women, they will, in most cases, collectively watch it. A typical example is the Star Parivar Awards.

Our Choice: High TVR but low selectivity can be explained by the fact that these events have a mass appeal. The family generally views it. The advertiser will thus also target the women of the family. The Bollywood Awards Show could be one such programme.

My Choice: High selectivity but low on TVRs. Although these shows have a low mass appeal generally, they focus more on their target group. An example would be lifestyle/fashion shows.

Castaways: With no appeal for any target group, these shows have low TVR and low selectivity. Programmes like MTV Immies fall into this category.

Regional Bias

So which region prefers a particular event? To analyze this, Lodestar came up with a 3-step process.

1. Comparing the average TVRs individually of the top five events with the top five regular programmes.

2. Index individual markets to all-India ones.

3. Index greater than 100 are above-average markets and so more receptive to events.

Kanpur, Mumbai, Kolkota and the rest of Maharashtra are receptive to events while the other markets remain loyal with little variation in tastes.

However, the target audiences vary in the cities. For instance, in Delhi, Kolkota and Mumbai, teens are keen to watch events. Not for them the Saas-Bahu serials. The appeal of the star/actor is what draws the teens. In effect, the charisma of Shahrukh, Aishwarya, Hritik, Saif and Preity still holds.

Beyond teens, males are probably the ones who would experiment the most. Giving their favourite soap a miss is a possibility with them.

Women on the other hand, prefer emotionality, drama and suspense and so such programming appeals to them. Little wonder then, that the Star Parivar Awards and Kassam Se grabs their attention.

Any advertiser who has any association with events gains not only from viewership but also from its promotion. What is the quantum of promos for events?

While regular programs get about 410 per month, events get around 1256. For instance, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi's cumulative promo peaks in three weeks (touching 96), for event No 1 - Asian Paints Star Screen Awards '04, the promos touch a high of 1999 for the same period.

Events thus have a higher visibility.

Retaining Viewership During Commercials

Events are a clear winner here. During commercials, Lodestar says, viewers are more likely to jump channels during regular programming than during a showcase event. It has been found that events have a loss of about 14.3 per cent during commercials while regular programmes have 18 per cent.

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