GECs aim to retain viewership with 8 show launches in March

MUMBAI: March is all set to be a mega launch month for entertainment with eight big-budget shows debuting on six general entertainment channels (GECs)—Sony Entertainment Television (SET), Colors, Zee TV, Star Plus, &TV and Sab TV.

Zee TV has already launched DID Li’l Masters season 4 on 3 March. The upcoming launches that are hitting TV screens in March are Sony’s Shriman Shrimati Phir Se on 13 March at 7.30 pm, Zee TV’s Ishq Subhan Allah on 14 March at 10 pm, &TV’s new dance reality show on weekends High Fever Dance Ka Naya Tevar on 17 March from 8 pm, SET’s new late-night show Yeh Pyaar Nahi Toh Kya Hai on 19 March at 11 pm, Colors’ Bepanah on 19 March at 9 pm, Star Plus’ Kulfi Kumar Bajewala on 19 March at 8.30 pm and SET’s popular comedy Family Time with Kapil Sharma on 25 March from 8 pm onwards.

Though channels are experimenting with new time slots, March is proving to be an ideal month for shows to premiere as the Indian Premier League (IPL) begins on 7 April and will continue till 27 May.

The IPL has a massive roadblock for most Hindi GECs as the nail-biting cricket extravaganza used to routinely cannibalise GEC viewership, sometimes sealing the fate of primetime soaps forever. Now that Star India holds the rights from this year, channels are prepping new shows to capture viewers’ attention.

Looking back at the ten seasons of the IPL, GEC viewership has been subsumed by cricket. With the IPL luring eyeballs, the trend seems to be that audiences give the Hindi GECs a miss during the two months of the year.

In the tenth season, which commenced on 5 April 2017, within three days, SPN India’s Hindi movie channel Sony Max rose to the top of ratings in the Hindi movies genre list for week 15 of BARC 2017 with 14,29,479 (000s) impressions. Sony Max telecast the IPL matches till last year.

However, before the launch of the IPL, in week 13 of BARC India data, Sony Pal led the Hindi GEC (urban + rural) markets with 702,603 (000s) impressions. With a fall in viewership in week 14, however, Star Plus grabbed the first position in Hindi GEC (U+R) markets with 691,210 (000s) impressions and the viewership continued to fall in week 15 with Star Plus leading again but with 678,258 (000s) impressions.

Being grouped in the category of highest viewership is never easy. From creating new time slots to bringing in compelling content, it is always a struggle to retain and attract eyeballs. Therefore, it seems like a smart move on the part of the broadcasters to launch the shows before the IPL starts and get a good hold on viewership.

With the launch of the Shrimaan Shrimati Phir Se, Sony SAB is all set to create ripples in the entertainment genre with its fresh take on the 90s hit comedy series Shrimaan Shrimati by presenting it in a new avatar. The story of the show is based on the premise of ‘love the neighbour.’

Zee TV introduces viewers to the world of Kabeer and Zara who are grappling with the issue of triple talaq first-hand in its new fiction offering, Ishq Subhan Allah, even as the Parliament is debating the case.

& TV’s High Fever Dance Ka Naya Tevar is the new dance reality show offering on weekend time slots. The show will explore the strength of dancing pairs across age groups based on their relationships. The pair can be real-life family pairs such as husband-wife, mother-daughter, father-son or couples.

Partnering once again with Bindu & SJ Studios, SET is bringing a breezy yet absorbing world of romance in Yeh Pyaar Nahi Toh Kya Hai. It’s that shade of love, which is unspoken but palpable, unexpressed but perceptible of Siddhant Sinha (Namit Khanna) and Anushka Reddy (Palak Jain).

Bepanah, premiering on Colors, is a romantic thriller and drama TV series with Jennifer Winget and Harshad Chopra in lead roles. The show is produced by Cinevistaas Ltd.

Star Plus' new show Kulfi Kumar Bajewala will showcase the journey of Kulfi, essayed by Aakriti Sharma. The new show is being produced by 4 Lions Films and Invictus T Mediaworks.

Comedy king Kapil Sharma is back in a new avatar with Family Time with Kapil Sharma from March 25 onwards. The show will premiere immediately after the Super Dancer Chapter 2 finale, which is on March 24. The new promo of the show was launched on 10 March.

SET has also announced the comeback of ace superstar Salman Khan with his show Dus ka Dum. Speculation, however, is that the show will launch only after the IPL. For now, there seems to be no new show in the pipeline for the upcoming two months.

With interesting shows lined up this month, Hindi GECs are attempting to get viewers to switch their loyalties from the IPL to shows. Since the IPL is on a new platform this time, Star Sports, it would be interesting to see the ratings pan out. 

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