?Idol? gazing!

Indian Idol?s finale has done for Sony Entertainment Television (SET) what no other show has done for it till date. The year on year monopoly of the Kyunkiis and the Kahaanis on the TRP charts was broken as the Indian Idol finale on 5 March was the second most watched show after Kyunkii Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi in week 10.

In the midst of this, while everyone is harping on the TRPs to define the success of the programme, Mudra?s media agency Optimum Media Solutions (OMS) delved into specific factors that contributed to the success.

Here?s a peek into what caused the surge in ratings... Was it new viewers coming in on to the finale or the existing viewers spending more time? If it were new viewers then what was their profile and where did they coming from? OMS found that according to Tam data, the TG for Indian Idol finale was C&S 15+ all adults in SEC ABC. The markets where most viewers came in from were Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Gujarat, Punjab, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

The figures reveal that 53 per cent of the total TV audience in North, West and East India were glued to the final episode of Indian Idol. The build up was always there from the beginning of the year as the show saw a consistent rise in the ratings and also managed to increase the channel share of Sony. While the 7 January episode of Indian Idol notched TVRs of 6.8, the 5 March finale surged the ratings to a whopping 15.3. On the other hand, Sony?s channel share also increased from 21.8 on 7 January to 53.7 on 5 March.


The Indian Idol finale also helped the entire Hindi entertainment genre as a whole to grow in the weekend. While weekends are a great puller for Hindi and English movie channels and news channels alike; Indian Idol on Saturday, 5 March ate into the share of these niche channels that are traditionally strong weekend genres. In the last eight Fridays, while the Hindi entertainment channels commanded a share of 71 per cent of the total channel pie; the Hindi movie channels commanded 16 per cent, Infotainment and English movie channels had 2 per cent each, kid?s channels had 1 per cent and news channels comprised 8 per cent of the total pie. On the other hand 5 March raised the Hindi entertainment channel share to 85 per cent and Hindi movie channels dipped from 16 per cent to 7 per cent, news channels pie was eaten into by 3 per cent. Kid?s channels viewership became nil from the 1 per cent that it earlier commanded on weekends.

Keeping this point in mind, OMS probed the question as to whether this growth in the Hindi entertainment channel space was due to higher time spent among the existing viewers of Indian Idol on Fridays or due to new audiences. What was found was that on the day of the final episode, the time spent went up by 215 per cent, which was due to the fact that the duration of the show was two hours and also because new audiences flirted in. The time spent by audiences was three times more than a normal episode. While normal episodes saw a maximum of 24 minutes being spent on the channel, the finale saw it rise to 63 minutes.

Sony?s reach built up consistently as the finale drew closer and new audiences flocked to the show. From a reach of 13 per cent in January, the channel?s reach rose to 29 per cent. The 5 March episode, which garnered a reach of 29 per cent, was 61 per cent higher than that of the previous week (18 per cent). Hence, other than the loyal viewers who were glued to the television for the final result episode, a whole lot of new audiences also specifically came in to watch this Big Event.

An analysis of where the new viewers came in to flock to the Indian Idol finale reveal that the migration to Sony came from almost all Hindi entertainment channels. However the maximum brunt was borne by the until-now invincible leader Star Plus. The graph below says it all!

Among niche channels, the maximum gain from movies and news channels. While among movie channels, Star Gold was the most hit, Aaj Tak came under the scanner among news channels. Refer to the graph below:

As far as individual markets are concerned, the maximum gain for Sony came from Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and not surprisingly Maharashtra, since India?s first Idol is from the state of Maharashtra.

Coming now to who exactly were the new viewers that tuned into the finale of Indian Idol? An analysis of the audience profile shows that the youth were the highest contributors in pushing Indian Idol on the upward trajectory. While the percentage of male and female viewership didn?t see much of a nudge from the earlier Idol episodes, it was from the SEC C segment that a somewhat significant contribution of viewers came in as it saw a 2 per cent increase in viewers from 25 per cent in previous weeks to 27 cent in the final episode.

Youth, on the other hand from the age group 10 - 34 were the major contributors with 55 per cent of the total viewership coming in from there. Overall, there was no significant change of viewer profile across episodes till the finale.

In a nutshell, what has been found is that new viewers from other Hindi entertainment channels, Hindi movie channels and news channels was what played a significant role in taking Sony?s Idol to the ideal spot during the finale. Also a surge in ratings was seen across markets like Maharashtra, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.

However, according to the findings of OMS, what will be critical for Sony would be to what extent it is able to retain these new audiences in the long run. Can Idol do what Star Plus? Kaun Banega Crorepati did for new shows like Kyunkii? and Kahaani?, which till today are the frontrunners on Indian television. If Indian Idol is touted as a "Tune in" platform, it can do wonders for the post-Idol shows on the channel, OMS believes.

While viewers will no doubt be awaiting the second season of Indian Idol, it remains to be seen if Sony will be able to sustain and retain the hype.

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