Hindi GECs take a beating from IPL

The Indian Premier League onslaught is beginning to hurt Hindi general entertainment channels.  With an average TVR of 5 (Tam data for week ended 26 April, All India, C&S 4 +), the heat is now on for the GECs to retain its prime time viewership.

Star Plus and Sony have lost a chunk of their audiences, while Zee TV has made up with a focus on afternoon programming. NDTV Imagine is looking more battered at this stage while 9X has marched ahead to occupy the third spot.

Sample this: Kyunki ? which was enjoying a TVR of 5.3 in week 15 (week ended 12 April) fell to 4.18 TRP on week ended 26 April (when IPL was on for the whole week).

Kahani? slipped from 4.36 TVR (week 15) to below 3 in week 17. And when Star Plus launched its high voltage Shah Rukh Khan show Kya Aap Paanchvi Pass Se Tez Hain? on 25 April, it fetched a TVR 4.61 which could, perhaps, have soared higher.

Star?s Bidaai, one of the top five shows in the Hindi GEC, has lost considerable TVRs to fall on 4.41 (week 17) from a high of 5.5 (week 15).

Zee?s Saath Phere fell from 4.76 (week 15) to 3.96 (week 17) while Kasam Se touched 3.3 (week 17) from 3.92 (week 15).

Zee TV business head Tarun Mehra says, "All the GECs have lost viewers to the IPL matches. However, all the channels were prepared for a general beating on the score card".

Market leader Star Plus with 345 GRPs in week 15, fell to 297 GRPs in week 16. In week 17, Star Plus managed 300 GRPs (even after the launch of Panchvi?).

Star Plus VP marketing and communication Prem Kamath says, "Definitely IPL has had its effect on GECs. However, the space is very unpredictable. So you might see a different story next week. A week or two?s data does not give the full picture."

Despite IPL matches, Zee TV has grown in terms of GRPs. From 212 GRPs in week 15, it has increased to 218 GRPs (week 16). And in week 17, it finished with a high of 220 GRPs, standing second to Star Plus.

Channel WK 15 Wk 16 Wk 17
Star Plus 345 297 300
Zee TV 212 218 220
9X 77 72 80
NDTV Imagine 88 92 79
Sony Entertainment TV 84 79 68
Sahara One 68 63 63
Star One 66 54 60
DD1 40 34 34
Star Utsav 36 35 32
SAB 35 32 31
Zee Next 10 9 10
Source: TAM Peoplemeter System TG: CS 4+

So how has Zee TV managed to weather the storm? Says Mehra, "No doubt IPL has eaten GECs viewers in the prime time slot. But instead of concentrating on the prime time, we are focusing on the afternoon programming and movies."

To combat IPL match ratings, Zee TV has pumped up its weekends with a special attention on the afternoon programming. During the week ended 26 April, Zee TV has shown the movie Vivaah which fetched a TVR of 3.29. It has also launched a TV series Vivaah at 7 pm and 11 pm (week days), besides an hour-long episode of Nagiin... and a special episode of Banoo Main Tere Dulhann.

Zee TV is also planning to strengthen its line up. The channel will launch a new crime series Hadsaa on weekends. Besides it is pumping up the weekends with special events like Zee Cine Awards and Idea Rocks.

A few rungs down the line, NDTV Imagine (79 GRPs) lost its third spot to 9X with 80 GRPs.

While sibling channel Max has hogged all the limelight with the telecast of the IPL matches, Sony has plunged from 84 GRPs in week 15 to only 68 GRPs in week 17.

"We have got affected marginally but as a network we have grown phenomenally," says Sony Entertainment television creative head Sanjay Upadhyay.

Sony, in fact, is trying to use the IPL hype to promote its new show launches. Reality shows like Waar Pariwaar, Naye Roop Nayi Zindagi and Yeh Shaam Mastaani were unveiled during the IPL time.

Explains Upadhyay, "We are building up these shows around IPL. One should also not forget that IPL is a short term event and after it is over we expect our shows to pick up. Apart from that a lot of cross channel promotions are happening on both Max and Sony."

Soon after IPL gets over, Sony will place its big ticket reality show Dus Ka Dum with Salman Khan as host at prime time to mop up audiences that have deserted the channel.

A similar tale follows the other GECs. From 68 GRPs (week 15), Sahara One fell to 63 GRPs (week17) while Star One dipped from 66 GRPs (week 15) to 60 GRPs (week17).

A micro look into the IPL ratings on weekdays

The IPL is holding firm in terms of viewership even on weekdays.

Tam data C&S 4+ shows that matches played from Sunday 20 April to Saturday 26 April have managed an average TVR of 5.

In fact the match between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians which took place on 23 April and went down to the wire nearly touched a TVR of 6.

The contest between Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders on 26 April fetched the lowest ratings during the week with a TVR of 3.6.

Not surprisingly the crucial match between Mumbai and Bangalore on 20 April touched a TVR of 5.9. The match between Rajasthan Royals and Deccan Chargers that took place on Thursday had a TVR of 5.5.

In Gujarat where IPL has fared the best, the matches averaged a TVR of 7.14 while in Andhra Pradesh where IPL has not done well the matches managed a TVR of 2.77.

Tam also did an analysis on the visibility that the teams got through their TV promos in the month before the IPL kicked off.

From 18 March to 17 April the Kolkata Knight Riders had 46 per cent of promo time and got 41 per cent of GRPs. The Mumbai Indians had 33 per cent of promo time but their GRP contribution was only 19 per cent.

The Decan Chargers, on the other hand, had only 10 per cent of promo time but GRPs delivered were 22 per cent.

Women continue to be interested in big cricket but their share has come down slightly. During the 2003 World Cup women contributed 41 per cent of viewership. This came down to 38 per cent for last year?s World Cup. For IPL, women contribute 36 per cent of viewership.

The audience age profile has been consistent over the years. For the 2003 World Cup, the 35+ age group contributed 39 per cent to viewership. For the IPL it has contributed 38 per cent.

Growth, however, has come for the 15-24-year-olds. Their share in viewership has grown from 21 per cent for the 2003 World Cup to 27 per cent for the IPL. Observers attribute this to the fast-paced nature of T20.

Tam data also shows that city loyalty has already set in. During the first match, Kolkata viewers increased their interest in the match right till the end of the contest despite knowing in the early stages that their team was going to win.

Bangalore, on the other hand, started losing interest as the match proceeded towards the finish line. The other four metros, more or less, maintained the same amount of interest in the match right till the end.

Tam also explains that matches that feature top quality sides will always draw the most viewership. Fans will watch their side more when they play a top side.

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