Television

What makes TV sexy?

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Nothing sells like sex. Really! AXN, the hot and popular franchise, is well stared at for an hour on end.Programmes such as Bikini Destination are becoming a popular franchise, so much so that the post 11 pm bands in which these programmes are aired have seen a rise in TRPs.

"It has seen a clear upsurge of 25 - 30 per cent in viewership," says AXN assistant vice-president marketing and sales Rohit Bhandari.

Lodestar media director Aprita Menon offers another observation, "We find that a lot of young adult/ teen viewing also tend to happen in that time-band as well. And this doesn‘t hold true just for AXN. Analysis of this time-band showed a jump in the viewership of south Indian channels like SS music with the teens preferring to tune into the thundering thighs when the rest of the family is safely tucked into their beds."

So is it true that the post 11 band has achieved a deemed status of immensely hot to chase the wild.

While AXN is getting adventurous with programmes such as Bikini Destination, Are you hot? - The search for America‘s Sexiest People and Celebrities Uncensored; Zee English is beaming Mind of the Married Man, and Hidden Hills. Star World too, airs its share of hot spot on Baywatch, on the late night band.

"In India, most of the household television is escapism as a viewer sitting consumes reasonable amount of television hours," opines Bhandari.

He further added, "Who does not want to grab extra eye balls? At the end of the day it is the secondary viewer who consumes a reasonable amount of television hours."

As one scans the scores through the number of television channels that are available to us, there seems to be more than myriad daily soaps being floated on all the mass entertainment channels.

"If there is a space for these shows on regular television, it is on special interest channels like AXN, Trendz, Zee English etc. and that too in the late night hours. Internationally, it has been this way. To me, that space has always been for the individual, adult audience, and will continue to be dominated by these shows, in certain channels," emphasis Starcom Worldwide general manager - investment and new initiatives Manish Porwal. "In most countries, late night is the ideal time for adult television," he adds in a matter-of-fact manner.



Porwal further says, "Bold youth channels like MTV (Grind), B4U and also the local cable channels have also been instrumental in feeding the skin appetite to the Indian male. AXN Hot & Wild was a dot in the ‘skin-show‘ continuum, although after a hiatus. The trend, I reckon, is here to stay and will only improve to have content, which is more elite and tasteful rather than crass and in your face."

But is the trend really catching on? Latest, Zee English aired the most popular and largest selling calendar edition in the world - Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Calendar on 5 September at 11 pm. But the channel claims to have no intention of competing with AXN as far as the bare-dare scene goes at the moment. A Zee spokesperson offered, "Zee English is very conscious about the quality and finesse of the programmes that go on air and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Calendar is a classy video magazine shot at the most beautiful locations with the biggest models on the face of the earth."

He further pointed out, "This is a conscious effort to build a good platform for great lifestyle programming for mature adults." The spokesperson dismisses the term as a ‘me too‘ activity and has no plan of action rule out at the moment to introduce shows along the lines of Sports Illustrated. "We are never satisfied with the ratings that our shows deliver; we keep trying to raise the bar and drive bigger viewership on our channel," the spokesperson added.

Money-spinners

Enough said about the moral dilemmas and programming issues; but does this translate into good money? Apparently yes, as Bhandari claims that the kind of products that are advertised on the Hot n Wild band include financial services, electronics, motor cars and bikes, mobile phone, (handsets and service providers) and personal care products.

Speaking of TV nights, the money-spinners - in this case the ads - cannot be ruled out from this slot as they cash on it too as a place to meet their target consumers. On Zee English some of the advertisers include GM motors, Asian Paints, Himalaya, Rai University, Metlife, Idea Cellular, Bacardi, Philips, Maruti, LML and many more.

A Zee spokesperson points out, "As such there is no real preference from any particular category, it‘s just that on the basis of seasonality and campaign durations, the spend levels by categories differ on a month to month basis."

But Porwal has a different opinion. Commenting on the ads placements on the post 11 pm slot, he says, "Advertising has, to my surprise, eluded these shows. Grind was an exception, as a significant part of MTVs revenue came because of the programme when it was aired."

He elucidated, "It has been an ideal feeding-ground for contraceptive and liquor advertising. Advertising will be guided to these shows on AXN and Zee Cinema considering the fact that they normally give out effective rate deals and most planners know of the natural skew whether it is reflected in numbers or not."

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