Television

Sony Marathi banks on fiction to be market leader

The channel claims to have surpassed Star Pravah in ratings.

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MUMBAI: Regional is the hot new space for broadcasters and they have taken big bets on vernacular languages to garner higher ratings. Sony Pictures Network India (SPNI), which already has its presence in the Bengali space, saw the potential in Marathi market and made a move to launch its channel on 19 August 2018.

The channel launched nine fiction shows and two non-fiction shows during its launch and now, the channel is adding yet another non-fiction show, Super Dancer Maharashtra, produced by frames production house in its bouquet. The channel claims to focus on fiction while non-fiction will also have a steady offering. Sony Marathi business head Ajay Bhalwankar said, “Sony as a cluster, is known for our non-fiction shows and for us, fiction will matter but non-fiction will also have a steady offering from us.”

The channel claims to have surpassed the established biggie in the market which is Star Pravah, bagging 30 GRPs with 21 per cent reach in the Maharashtra-Goa Urban 15+ market. “Nobody has opened as big as in the first week itself, we are ahead of the already established players like Star Pravah,” said Bhalwankar.

When asked about the challenges that Sony Marathi is facing in the already cluttered market, he pointed out that there were many but one was to figure out what kind of channel was needed as Marathi is a matured market since 20 years. “So our first and foremost position was to get a position ourselves, to create a space for ourselves in this market. Sony Marathi was the first serious launch of the regional channel, as we don’t have regional channels apart from Sony Aath which was more of acquisition and more of films and dubbed content. But our Marathi bouquet will be a full-fledged original content that we are making so that was the other challenge that we had of how we approach the regional channel and offering.”

Talking about Sony Marathi’s flagship shows so far, Bhalwankar said that it’s too early to analyse which shows are working well. He said that people are sampling their liking. People are watching throughout the day, during its primetime and also on Sundays. “The approach for us is to grow brick by brick, so our first step has been formidable and we are looking at how slowly and steadily we will grow. Going forward, we have exciting content for fiction. People have reacted positively for fiction, whereas in non-fiction we have got some big properties,” he said.

The Marathi segment, especially the GECs and the movies, have been garnering a great traction from advertisers.  According to the reports, after Tamil and Telegu, advertisers are now banking on this segment, which contributes 4 per cent (Rs 800-1,000 crore) to the overall TV revenue and industry experts estimate that the top-line to grow by 10-15 per cent. 

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