Pre-KBC, Star Plus starts weekend slot facelift

MUMBAI: Weekends will spell action at the Star Plus stable in the coming months. The channel is getting into launch mode for KBC 2, and is gearing up its weekend paraphernalia so as to build up the momentum for the weekend franchise.

In the coming weeks, the strategy will be to package two big event properties in the weekend slot so that when KBC 2 makes its appearance the slot would already have been pre-heated to grab a decent number of eyeballs.

This is being done through the Star Parivaar Awards, Star Plus' in-house awards, scheduled in May, and the recent acquisition of IIFA Film Awards 2005 that the channel clinched from Sony at a cost of about Rs 70-80 million, say sources. The plan ahead is to milk both these properties to their maximum as a two-month activation process.

Says Star India executive vice president, content, Deepak Segal, "Whenever there is a property that is never-ending in nature, it always garners good numbers. Linear stories that we attempted on Sunday didn't work for us. It is usually noncommittal programming that does well on weekends."

Star Parivaar will see a host of Parivaar specials over the weekend built into one capsule before the screening of the actual event.

The break-up being:

1) Nomination Special Ep 1

2) Nomination Special EP 2

3) Jodi Special

4) Magic Moments

5) Red Carpet

6) Main Event

7) Post-Event Party

Each of the above events will be either a half-hour or a one-hour

capsule and the main event itself will be a three-hour programme. The dates of the above programming have not yet been finalised.

IIFA awards 2005 scheduled in June will follow a similar agenda as Parivaar with specials woven around the awards before the event itself.

The break up being:

1) Nomination special part 1

2) Nomination special part 2

3) Flashback part 1

4) Flashback part 2

5) Prelude-behind the scenes

6) Red carpet

7) Main event

8) Weekend with the stars

Segal also points out that Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) is a universal property that has potential to clock numbers anywhere.

And Segal expects to get over 10 TVR from the event-based programming, a normal delivery on the Star Plus platform. "These properties warrant the kind of packaging that we have planned. Pre-KBC, we will play with our big properties and provide some great fare on weekends," adds Segal.

With the coming of these capsules, the movie slot on Star Plus which currently stands at 8 pm will be pushed by half or one hour as the case may be to an 8:30 pm or 9 pm slot.

Speaking to, Star India senior vice president Ajay Vidyasagar says, "Whenever we have promoted and done specials around weekends, the properties have delivered exceedingly well, much like prime time from Mondays to Thursdays on Star Plus."

Vidyasagar may have a point. Star Parivaar Awards 2004, for instance, clocked 14 TVR in the HSM C&S 4+ TG. The Hindi feature film Main Hoon Na clocked 10.76 TVR, while the Diwali special which showcased TV stars celebrating the festivities of the season called Dhoom Machaley 10.3 TVR. The 11th Star Screen Award brought in 7.3 TVR and the latest Rang Barse, Holi special with the whole TV fraternity clocked 11.3 TVR, according to TAM data in the HSM C&S 4+ TG.

Still, Star Plus is relatively weak on weekends. While a dominant leader on weekdays, the channel is engaged in a neck-to-neck battle with Sony on weekends. And, Sony is actually leading in the Saturday-Sunday block.

Weekend prime time shares (8 pm - 11 pm):

Friday to Sunday
Saturday & Sunday
Star Plus
Zee TV
Sahara One
Source : TAM, CS, 4yrs+, HSM, Wkend prime time (8 - 11) relative shares, Wk 1 - 15

Star realises there is a sizeable chunk of viewership available on weekends and can't allow Sony to sit comfortably here with popular long running episodic thriller, horror and reality programmes. it plans to strike with the sequel of the Amitabh Bachchan hosted game show, KBC that created a revolution in the Indian television space.

Star's strategy has come at a time when the gap between weekday and weekend audience flow is narrowing.

(According to data available - week 7 to week 14 show that the average available TVRs from Monday to Thursday across all channels in the Hindi speaking markets in the C&S 4+ TG from 8 pm to 12 pm is 13,812.On the other hand, if one looks at Fridays to Sundays as a block for the same period, the average available TVRs across all channels 11,973.)

Star's aim is not only to tap the available TVRs but also get in new viewership. As a prelude to KBC 2, both Star Parivaar and IIFA Awards 2005 are positioned as the initial eye-drawers for the weekend.

All said and done, the challenges at hand for Star Plus is

considerable. Sony's line up on Fridays are quite strong with the newly launched reality dance show Dance Dance at 8 pm, the adpated chatcom at 9 pm titled Batliwalla - House No. 43, Aahat 2 the supernatural horror show at 9:30 pm, CID which is a successfully running thriller drama at 10 pm and Crime Partrol, the docu-drama at 10:30 pm.

Media analysts pointed out that if competing channels position their blockbusters at 8 pm, which is the current slot that Star Plus, Sony and Zee use for movies on weekends; Star Plus would then have some serious concern at hand to convince the viewers to watch a capsule of an event over a movie.

Another point in note that was made, was the fact that if with this

event based programming, Star Plus' movie slot is pushed forward, then viewers might tend to follow movies on other channels due to they being scheduled earlier.

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