Zee TV’s ‘Kumkum Bhagya’ gives tough fight at 9 pm slot

MUMBAI: Zee TV, the channel that enjoys a steady second place on the TAM TV ratings chart is riding high on success and all thanks to its properties which have seen remarkable rise in viewership. But this week, what caught attention was Balaji Telefilms’- Kumkum Bhagya.

It has seen a distinct spike in viewership ever since its protagonists Pragya and rockstar Abhi tied the knot clocking in 7,405 TVTs. The episodes from pre-wedding till the two tied the knot has seen a gradual rise in viewership.

According to TAM data provided by the channel, while a four-week average for the pre-wedding period (starting week 21’14 to week 24’14) stood at 3,263 TVTs, the show has seen a 127 per cent increase in viewership in the last six weeks.

So what has caught the attention of the viewers? Zee TV business head Pradeep Hejmadi believes that the ‘wedding track’ was a very important inflection point for people to gravitate to the series. He believes it is growing in terms of interest in all parameters.

“The focus was on how fate can sometimes bring two very dissimilar individuals together. Then it is about how the relationship will take form and how they will conform to the institution of marriage as per our culture.”

Kumkum Bhagya saw a surge in audience interest during the rather unlikely marriage of its protagonists - the flamboyant rockstar Abhi and the shy, serious girl-next door Pragya. The channel feels that due to its engrossing storyline coupled with believable performances, the show has been on a steady ascent, despite stiff competition at its time slot across GECs.

Aired at 9 pm it picked a fight with slot leader Diya Aur Baati Hum (Star Plus) across Hindi GECs and has managed to grow exponentially. As per TAM, the show’s viewership has dropped by 22 per cent since week 16, when Kumkum Bhagya was launched. In the week 30, Diya Aur Baati Hum garnered 10,379 TVTs, down from 10,488 TVTs.

Hejmadi believes that research forms an integral part during such competitive slots. Each show goes through a development process on how one would want to deal with a plot or the character.

“Each story has its own promise and people who tune in are people who are bought into those promises or are keen to explore the relationships or the characters that stand out speaking to them. We concentrated on bringing out the key inflection points for the show and it was important because it is the core promise of KumKum Bhagya,” he says.

At the marketing front, Hejmadi said that for any channel, marketing is the mix of two things - the on-air promotion on the network as well as promotion on other networks as additional activation.

The show was heavily promoted through an aggressive 360 degree marketing campaign by the channel from the launch to the wedding highpoint to ensure traction kept growing week on week.

Zee TV’s approach was one of sustained character building in all its communication across print, on-air and digital media. A judicious mix of mediums including high impact outdoors, print and innovatively crafted, personalised invites shared through social media on the day of the wedding created high visibility.

The streamlined promotional strategy not only attracted eyeballs but also garnered a lot of word- of-mouth publicity, thereby creating an enormous buzz around the much touted wedding sequence.

Hejmadi is confident that the series will continue to have the same kind of engagement level with the audiences. He goes on to say that in the fiction genre there are key points which mark the opportunity for an audience to start engagement. The channel has identified those key engagement points and will continue to focus on its other offerings as well.

He believes that the ratings game is like running a marathon. But, with robust properties such as Kumkum Bhagya, Jodha Akbar and Qubool Hai ruling the roost, Zee TV is the only channel that has seen a 30 per cent increase in its weekday primetime viewership in the last six weeks.

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