Report on Hindi News Viewership

New GEC shows rollout to boost advertisers’ sentiments?

Most of the leading broadcasters recently launched new fiction and reality shows.

MUMBAI: Although Bigg Boss 14 couldn't garner the expected TRPs, it has been in the news ever since its launch. The controversial reality show concluded on 21 February after three months of regaling viewers with high drama and antics. The marquee property will be replaced by dance reality series Dance Deewane 3, with Madhuri Dixit, Tushar Kalia and Dharmesh presiding as judges. Raghav Juyal has replaced Arjun Bijlani as the host of the dance reality show, which will premiere on 27 February.

The channel’s new fiction serial Bawara Dil, premiered on 22 February at 10.30 pm, the latest in a string of fiction offerings post-lockdown; this includes Ishq Me Marjawaan2, Namak Issk Ka, Pinjara Khubsurti Ka and Molkki.

Meanwhile, Star Bharat too is coming up with a new show for telecast, likely to be named Bahu Kya Layi Hai. The show, created by Shakuntalam Telefilms, is in the initial stages of production where the star cast is being finalised. Star Plus brought out a six-episode comedy series, Bingo! Comedy Adda, earlier this month. The show played host to celebrities like Ranveer Singh, Neena Gupta, Farah Khan, Aparshakti Khurana and cricketer Harbhajan Singh, to name a few.

On the other hand, Zee TV made a splash with the star-studded debut of Indian Pro Music League on February 26. The network has roped in Bigg Boss host Salman Khan as the brand ambassador of the show, touted to be the “world’s biggest music league.” Even so, it is mostly banking on its popular serials like Kyun Rishton Mein Katti Batti, Apna Time Bhi Aayega, Teri Meri Ikk Jindri and Humari Wali Good News, which have managed to win over audiences. Additionally, rumours are rife that the channel is all set to bring a new show with Balaji Telefilms called Mangal Bhagya, a spin-off of Kundali Bhagya and Kumkum Bhagya.

There are different genres of serials that Sony TV telecasts, such as Mere Sai – Shraddha Aur Saburi, Indianwaali Maa, and more. After KBC 12 wrapped up, the channel launched two shows, Punyashlok Ahilyabai and Kyun Utthe Dil Chhod Aaye.

A new contender in the offing in the Hindi GEC space is In10 Media Network’s Ishara, which will be available across networks from 1 March. Ishara has roped in reputed production houses like Hats Off Productions, Peninsula Pictures, Juggernaut Productions, Keylight Productions for its launch slate.

Havas Media North & West India president Uday Mohan shared that due to the pandemic, Hindi GECs last year were not able to shoot their format shows and monetise them. So, this year, with most of the channels, the line-up of format shows is heavier than usual as they would want to make the most revenue out of it to make up for last year. In terms of fiction, he believes there won’t be a lot of dramatic changes in the programming. However, mythology is one genre that has worked very well in the recent past and more and more Hindi and regional channels are adopting this and coming up with mythology shows.

Perhaps that is why upcoming new channel Ishara has made sure to include a mythological series titled Paapnaashini Ganga as part of its inaugural programming line-up; along with crime-thriller Faraar Kab Tak and three fiction shows – Agni-Vayu, Humkadam and Janani.

New fare is the flavour of the season, as broadcasters are expecting higher ratings and better advertiser responses to fresh content.

A report by Edelweiss had pegged TV ads to grow by 6.5 per cent. But a more recent KPMG study projects the same to shrink, building on a GroupM report earlier in the year 2020 that had already forecast the share of digital to grow by three per cent as compared to a one per cent decline for TV.

Mohan is upbeat about ad spends picking up considerably this year, after last year’s poor show due to the pandemic and consequent economic slowdown.

“India is now getting ready for the Covid2019 vaccine, and there is a positive sentiment in the country, as reflected in the sales of automobiles and consumer goods. Unless something drastic happens on the Covid2019 front, consumer behaviour will be positive and brands would be eager to spend money and capitalise on this positive wave,” he detailed. “Most brands that were not able to spend last year would look to invest more this year, especially seasonal brands like air conditioners which had completely lost out on the last summer season due to the lockdown.”

However, he raised a red flag that owing to 2021 being the year of sports – with bilateral cricket series, the IPL, ICC World T20 Cup, Olympics, etc scheduled to take place – there is a likelihood of ad spends being spread thin between the sports genre and GEC. He also surmised that brands that are mainly male-driven and cannot afford marquee sports events would look to capitalise on the news segment.

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