Sony Pal extends primetime with ‘Yeh Dil Sun Raha Hai’

MUMBAI: Achieving a growth of 30-40 per cent key markets within a month of its launch, Sony Pal (the newest channel from Multi Screen Media slate) is definitely leaving no stone unturned to mark its position in the GEC space.

But Sony Pal and Sab senior EVP and business head Anooj Kapoor believes that it still has a long way to go. “From the ratings perspective, we still have a long way to go. We don’t want to compare ourselves with any other channel within the space, but our main agenda is to showcase quality content that our TG can sample,” he says.

The channel which went live on 1 September targets women, mostly housewives in the age group of 15-34 years, in SEC BCDE markets. With the tagline ‘Yeh Pal Hamara Hai’, it claims to have content which empowers and that showcases positive aspects of modern India, while presenting the traditional aspect.

The channel currently has three hours of original content on-air which airs from Monday to Saturday between 7:30 pm-10:30 pm and two hours of original content on Sunday evening. In order to expand its prime time, it has joined hands with Balaji Telefilm’s Ekta Kapoor to present an intense love story ‘Yeh Dil Sun Raha Hai’ from 16 October onwards at 7 pm.

This show is Ekta Kapoor’s first association with Anooj Kapoor and Sony Pal. Moreover Ekta Kapoor says that it was a challenge for her and the team as they have usually restricted themselves to urban set ups. “I don’t have any friends and relatives staying in non metro cities. It was a challenge for all of us, we did our own research, visited that place, observed the culture and modified the storyline accordingly,” she says.

Set in the city of Patna, Anooj says that it wanted to break into the Hindi heartland and create something different.

The show charts the journey of Poorvi (played by Aparna Dixit), the daughter of a senior government employee and Arjun (played by Navi Bhangu), the spoilt son of the local coal mafia. Initially, Poorvi and Arjun can't see eye to eye, but steadily get drawn towards each other and eventually, go on to combat all odds and family antagonism for their love. Unfortunately, both are destined to be apart. It is thus the story of two star-crossed lovers, their journey of adoration and hatred.

About the slot decision, Anooj revealed that mostly 80 per cent of housewives find it very convenient to watch shows at 7 pm. “This is because sometimes husbands haven’t arrived home yet and the kids are out playing and the dinner duty hasn’t started yet,” he says.

He further goes on to say that in the north where winter sets in from next month, it becomes very late after 9:30 pm, so, in that case 7 pm slot is very ideal from all these points of views. “Moreover, at 7 pm in the current GEC space you don’t have too much of competition,” he adds.

Anooj agrees to the fact that there are shows like Saathiya on Star Plus which is doing well and delivering good ratings. According to him there is lot of potential but not much competition.

If the show does well, the audience will be propelled to the 7:30 pm and other slots because women will know what to expect from the channel and they would sample the promos of other shows in that half an hour.

A 360 degree media campaign across TV, out of home, print and social media will be rolled out soon. TV is used to introduce the show concept, characters and premise. Other mediums like outdoors and print are used to reinforce the message and remind viewers to tune in.

The campaign is led by intensive TV advertising on the network’s channels and other channels to cover the HSM, supported by extensive outdoor visibility in key markets across the Hindi heartland. The message is being reinforced by regular print ads in the run up to the launch across leading dailies.

Media planners believe that though it is a good move doing a show at 7 pm slot, the channel will take some time to win the hearts of the audiences. “It all depends on content. If that manages to hold on to enough viewers to the show, the channel will automatically see growth in terms of viewership as well as reach.”

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