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Star Plus gambles with afternoon programming in the run-up to IPL

MUMBAI: Star Plus is not only known for experimenting and being bold with its content but also with its time slots. It was the first Indian GEC which turned the prime time clock back by launching Sasural Genda Phool and Saath Nibhana Saathiya in the 7pm band more than half a decade ago.

Now it’s about to make its boldest – some are labeling it precocious – move yet by announcing the launch of four shows from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm from 3 April in the thick of the IPL season. For long, GECs have been loathe to air shows in the afternoon band as advertising revenues have not matched up with the investments that shows demand these days. Even for afternoon shows.

The Star Plus team has also given it a name: Star Plus Dopahar.

“Our earlier early prime experiment did well, and we have the belief and faith that even Star Plus Dopahar will work well with our audience who are hungry for new and differentiated content,” says Star Plus president and head of content Gaurav Banerjee.  

“Star Plus is brave enough to get  new stories on the channel. At times, we face failure but that failure becomes the reason of our success.”

Adds Star Plus GM Narayan Sundararaman: "We, at Star Plus, are constantly striving to reframe and reinvent Hindi entertainment television. Our goal is to make compelling content available to the consumers across all parts of the day. There is a sizeable television viewing audience in the afternoon. At present,  the options available to these viewers are repeat telecasts. Our aim is to present viewers with a spectrum of original content therein growing the entire category.”

And, Star has got a mixed bag of producers – who have delivered TRP busters -  to churn out the shows. Among them: Shashi and Sumeet Mittal, Sandip Sickand and Balaji Telefilms, Ved Raj, Dheeraj Sarna, Nandita Mehra and Bhairavai Raichura.

The channel’s flagship brand ‘Diya Aur Baati Hum’ by Shashi-Sumeet Productions will return with a sequel -- that the channel’s fans have been demanding – under the name of ‘Tu Sooraj Mein Saanjh, Piyaji’.  The sequel marks the homecoming of the Bhabho with the next generation of the Rathi family – Sooraj and Sandhya’s children.  Fresh characters, returning favorites, the biggest fandom in the country, an iconic love story – Star Plus believes it doesn’t get bigger than this for viewers.

A Turkish show that has been winning the hearts of viewers worldwide with its emotions transcending geographies, ‘Fatmagul’ will be adapted in India titled ‘Kya Kasoor Hai Amla Ka?’ The story tackles complex emotions and a sensitive subject of violation of the innocence of a woman. Set in scenic Dharamshala, it is being remade with Indian sensibilities by Purnendu Shekhar, Nandita Mehra and Bhairavi Raichura (24 Frames).     

‘Ek Aastha Aisi Bhee’ by Ved Raj and Dheeraj Sarna is a story of god’s special child, a girl who brings a fresh and unique perspective on faith. She believes that, in serving humanity, she is serving god.

A girl in her quest for love, Deepika chooses to weigh herself with the scale of confidence while her partner Piyush chooses to weigh himself down with the insecurities of his imperfection in ‘Dhhai Kilo Prem’. From the creative mind of Sandiip Sikcand and produced by him in collaboration with Balaji TeleFilms, this love story will measure love with a different scale, says a company press release.

The move appears to be getting the nod from media observers. Says one of them: “It is an interesting initiative. The 56 IPL matches begin from 5 April and go on till 21 May when the final will be played. Most of the league and qualifiers matches are either at 8 pm or 4 pm. So Indian audiences are going to gravitate to their telecast. In single TV homes which have cricket fanatics in them, the women and ladies normally forego their entertainment shows on account of the preoccupation with the cricket on TV during prime time.”

He adds: “Star Plus’ new gambit will give the women in the home (home makers) a shot at entertainment during the afternoon. Now we will have to wait and watch whether their stories are sticky enough. If the TV shows catch on, not only will the noon slots become appealing to audiences but they will also get well-heeled advertisers to pay heed to the opportunity. It is living up to the motto that Star India CEO Uday Shankar has been pushing  -- that of new thinking (Nayi Soch).”

Hence, as the cliché goes, it is over to the king viewer at home. Or should we say queen viewer to resonate with this thinking?

Also Read:

Star Plus brings 'Nayi Soch' with Aamir for Women's day

Star Plus takes over Colors, Rishtey retains top position: BARC wk 7

Star Plus salutes Moms through Dhoni, Kohli and Ajinkya in promos

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