Television

Zindagi: A bet that worked

MUMBAI: “I have always gone by my gut feeling and that is the most important for me,” is what Zeel MD & CEO Punit Goenka had said when he first announced the launch of a new GEC, Zindagi, from the network’s cadre.

And seems like, Goenka’s gut feeling has once again hit the bulls eye.

Zindagi, the mass premium channel, was launched on 23 June with just four shows – Zindagi Gulzar Hai, Aunn Zara, Kash Mein Teri Beti Na Hoti and Kitni Girhain Baqi Hain – from Pakistan with a promise of ‘Jodey Dilon Ko.’

The shows were an instant hit amongst viewers especially the urbanites who went gaga over them on the social media. They struck a chord with viewers and the word of mouth had the social networking sites abuzz with tweets, wall posts and blog posts. The impact was such that the channel in a short span already has more than 4500 followers on Twitter and approximately 2.2 lakh likes on Facebook.

The same was reflected in the TAM TV ratings, which were finally released after several weeks of waiting, as the newbie took over even the 14 year old channel, Sahara One. The channel witnessed 28,700 GVTs in week 29 and 27,013 in week 28.

It has received an overwhelming response from viewers across all age groups as it broke away from the stereotypes of ‘traditional TV viewing in India’. The media analysts believe that the numbers received by the channel are decent for a new entrant in the already cluttered and highly competitive market of Hindi general entertainment channels (GECs).

“If we look at the highly marketed show of megastar Amitabh Bachchan on Sony, Yudh, it was able to generate 1,199 TVTs.  Going by this for a niche channel like Zindagi, there is nothing to worry about,” says Havas Media Group India and south Asia CEO Anita Nayyar.

The planners weren’t even expecting big numbers from the channel in the initial weeks, since according to them it is still in the nascent period wherein both the channel and the audience are sampling the content. 

Zindagi Gulzar Hai, that generated a lot of buzz on social media, reported 346 TVTs, down from 415 TVTs, Noorpur Ki Rani scored 197 TVTs (week 29), Kaash Main Teri Beti Na Hoti stood at 262 TVTs, up from 252 TVTs and Kitni Girhain Baqi Hai noticed 209 TVTs, up from 167 TVTs.

Like the current shows on Zindagi, even in the 80s, Pakistani series Dhoop Kinare, Tanhaiyaan, Ankahi had caught Indian viewers’ fancy. “The content from across the border is very different from the one showcased here, thus it has always made people notice it,” points out Nayyar.

The shows’ timings too are different from the pattern the Indian shows follow. The first show starts at 8pm, followed by the next at 8:55 pm, then 9:45 pm and last, at 10:15 pm. However, media observers believe that it will take viewers some time to get used to the new pattern and over time, will become a part of everyone’s routine. In return, adding more GVTs to its kitty.

On the other hand, a planner from down south says that though the channel was launched pan-India, the distribution needs to improve in the region which will give a push to the ratings. “A lot of money has been spent in marketing and slowly the numbers will show as well. But a little more push is needed in the area,” he says while agreeing on the fact that it’s too early to judge the channel’s performance by these numbers alone. “It takes time to form a trend,” he adds.

While media analysts agree that the ratings are very low as compared to the big players in the genre, they also feel that it’s a good start. The early report card will not impact the deals the channel has with its current main sponsors: Fogg, Askme.com and Fortune- Edible Oils and Foods.  And with the festive season just around the corner, the channel will have reasons to rejoice.

While others (media reports) have already jumped the gun and declared the fate of the channel, we at indiantelevision.com feel that the channel’s content has won many hearts and will continue to do so. ‘Zindagi’ Gulzar Hai…

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