Posts Tagged ‘Specials’

Kids Ka Jai Ho!

June 10, 2009

Surely the biggies of the Hindi general entertainment space have been channelising their efforts to attract the kids segment. If Colors has been trying to capture the small pops through its top-rated shows Balika Vadhu and Uttaran, Zee TV is gearing up to use this arsenal in its new property Aap Ki Antara.
But has this effort anyhow eaten into the viewership pie of the discerning bunch of little champs, the kids’ channels as a category? Not really!!! If 2008 saw the kids genre close at a 13.78 per cent share (period Jan-May 2008, All India C&S 4-14), the same period in 2009 (period Jan-May 2009, All India C&S 4-14) saw the genre grow by 1.08 per cent.

Kids Genre Share % in 2009
Month
ALL INDIA 09
Jan
13.9
Feb
13.6
Mar
14.5
Apr
15.6
May
16.6
Source: TAM, C&S 4-14, All India

Within the category, again, there are a few transitions. While Cartoon Network still continues to hold the fort, the channel has seen a slight dip of 0.4 per cent in its market share for the period between January to May in 2009 as compared to the same period last year.

Sibling channel Pogo too has surely managed to remain number two in the space. The channel has also seen a rise in its market share from 20 per cent in 2008 to 22.8 per cent in 2009.

All India Market
Channel
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Cartoon Network
29
26
27
24
23
Pogo
23
24
24
22
21
Nick
17
16
15
21
20
Hungama
14
15
17
14
18
Jetix
10
11
10
9
9
Disney
7
7
7
9
8
Spacetoon Kids TV
0
0
0
0
0
Source: TAM, C&S 4-14, All India

HSM Story

Nevertheless, when it comes to slicing the market further to concentrate on the HSM space, the view is visibly different and new. While CN has seen a slight dip here too for the same period over last (Jan – May 2008), it has been ousted for the first time ever by new market leader Nick for the last two consecutive months. Nick has also seen a 4.4 per cent upward swing in its market share, compared to 2008.

So what helped Nick emerge as the number one kids channel in the Hindi speaking market?

“There are a couple of factors that helped us attain this position. First, the Nicktoons – characters that have helped Nick establish space and engagement with the kids leading to an increase in the stickiness of the channel,” says Nick India SVP and GM Nina Elavia Jaipuria.

“Second, we have managed to take Nick beyond television, thus making it more tangible. And I think we did that very successfully with our experimental 360 degree marketing philosophy – we wanted to be in every place where children are,” she adds.

In 2009, CN, however, continues to remain above Nick at 23.4 per cent (Jan – May 2009). Pogo hasm meanwhile, climbed 4.6 per cent up over last year to garner 22 per cent market share.

HSM Market
Channel
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Nick
22
20
18
25
25
Hungama
17
19
21
17
22
Cartoon Network
27
25
25
21
20
Pogo
22
24
24
21
19
Disney
8
8
8
10
10
Jetix
4
4
4
5
5
Spacetoon Kids TV
0
0
0
0
0
Source: TAM, C&S 4-14, All India
While there is definitely a Cartoon Network vs Nick tale here, there seems to be a new contender creeping up the ladder to challenge the old bee.

Latest Tam data shows that Hungama TV, the kids channel for 4-14-year-olds which saw a 8.8 per cent fall in its market share over last, has relocated to the number two spot to push CN down the ladder for the month of May, 2009.

Recently, as part of its revamping strategy, the channel had introduced three new bands during summer and infused new shows into the bands. And its quite evident that the channel shored up its ratings post the change.

The channel had acquired two live action shows, Hatim from Star and Dharam Veer from NDTV Imagine to put them under the action band, Dum Powder. The Trouble Soda band features shows such as Doraemon and Ninjaboy Rantaro while Fun Gas showcases Shinchan and Asari Chan.

Disney channel, meanwhile, has also exhibited an upward growth in its market share.

Well, indications are on that while competition is really getting fierce, competitors are also putting their acts together to displace the winning feather from CN’s hat.

So, does CN foresee any collision ahead?

Says Turner International India vice president and deputy general manager – entertainment networks, South Asia Monica Tata, “Cartoon Network and Pogo’s relative shares in HSM have grown this January-May 2009 to 45 per cent from 41 per cent in the same period in 2008. These numbers are also a reflection of Turner’s long term vision and strategy for India that has paid rich dividends making Cartoon Network and Pogo the most viewed and loved brands amongst kids in India. Not only kids, but parents too give the highest endorsement to these two networks as their choice for kids (per New Generations 2008).”

“Besides, we also enjoy the lion’s share of the advertising pie. Increased competition has not outstayed us from our leadership position in the last 13 years and that’s a merit/result of our focus on the long-term rather than short-term measures and gains and a proof that we know and service our consumers best amongst all,” Tata adds.

South Story

Treading the Southern path, CN indisputably continues to rule the region exhibiting its leadership crown. Placing itself at the second spot, however, is not CN’s sibling channel Pogo, the second in command in the All India market, but Disney’s Jetix that is fed on action adventure content and targeted at only boys between the age-group of 6-10.

“Of the two global channels (read Disney and Jetix), Jetix is a more defined channel. We have made it available in four languages – English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu,” said Walt Disney Television International (India) senior vice president and managing director Antoine Villeneuve earlier in an interview with us.

South Market
Channel
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Cartoon Network
36
32
35
34
32
Jetix
27
32
30
26
30
Pogo
26
26
25
27
26
Nikelodeon
3
4
4
5
5
Disney
4
3
4
4
3
Hungama
3
3
3
3
3
Spacetoon Kidss TV
0
0
0
0
0
Source: TAM, C&S 4-14, All India
Advertising and the kids’ genre

Advertising growth came under pressure amid recession and clients and advertisers became cautious about their ad spend. As a result kids channels were stressed to move to quarterly deals with big advertisers, slash their ad rates and see some brands do a walk out. Yet, in spite of all, the category saw its ad volume grow by 36.87 per cent for the period from January to May 2009 over the same period last year.

Period
Jan-May 08
Jan-May 09
AD Volumes (Secs ‘000s)
7726
10575
Source: TAM
So does this increase indicate that existing advertisers had increased their spots across the kids channels while channels were unable to attracting new advertisers during the recessionary period?

“Not really. Television is the cheapest medium to reach out to the masses. For every other medium, there is an extra amount to be paid. Manufacturers understand this and they have also recognised our growth. And, thus, even during recession we have doubled our rates,” says Nick’s Nina Elavia Jaipuria.

While Nick claims that despite challenging times the channel quadrupled its sales revenue as advertisers found value in what they offered, Cartoon Network was on course to achieve its yearly targets.

“We’ve added more value for the advertisers with innovative and customised solutions. For example, ‘The Winning Secret’ a contest specially created to build Boost’s association as the energy partner for the Rajasthan Royals that received over 84000 entries! And, ‘Morning Shines’, a customised pre-school programming block specially packaged for Johnsons Baby Top-to-Toe Wash,” says Tata.

Apart from traditional advertisers, broadcasters state that a lot of non-traditional advertisers across sectors like FMCG, investment banks and durable products are also eyeing this space. The rationale behind this, they feel, are an increase in the co-viewing pattern and also the mere pester power of kids who have the ability today to influence parent’s decisions.

“In order to spend time with their kids, parents end up spending a lot of time on the kids channels. Also, animation as a category is today appealing to adults. Thus, a lot of co-viewing is taking place,” explains Jaipuria.

Cartoon Network, meanwhile, claims that over 30 per cent of the channel’s advertisers reach out to its secondary audience (that is 15+) such as Procter & Gamble, Gillette, Johnson & Johnson, Colgate Palmolive, Hindustan Unilevers, Reckitt Benckiser, SC Johnson, Marico, Vodafone, Bharti Airtel, BSNL, LG Electronics, Voltas, Whirlpool, Hitachi, Tata Tea and L’Oreal, amongst others.

Says Tata, “We have a robust portfolio of clients comprising both traditional and non-traditional kids’ marketers with over 165 clients between Cartoon Network and Pogo. We are confident of further upping our non-traditional clientele, as 47 per cent of all viewership for the channels comes from CS 15+ audiences.”

Broadcasters feel that the main factors that have led to the growth of the genre are localisation of content, co-viewing pattern, pester power of kids and taking the medium beyond the television space through licensing and merchandising, on-ground activities, constant promotions, polls, votes and contests.

Local content adds a lot of local flavour to the content and therefore helps in increasing the channels’ stickiness. CN believes that the 20 Indian animation shows/features playing on the channel have worked well for the channel. And its 2009 plan, therefore, is to expand on Indian animation content. For Pogo too the focal point will be to expand its original production.

Similarly, while Disney has managed to establish its brand connect with audiences through its franchises, the ratings have been coming in from locally acquired live action content.

“There has been an effect on ratings, but when it comes to a brand connect with the kids it is with our franchise properties. The best example of this is Hanna Montana. Our endeavour is to build a localised experience through Hanna Montana and our other properties,” says Villeneuve.

All said and done, industry believes that even though the category’s viewership continues to grow, even today it remains hugely under indexed. “As a result, in spite of contributing 7 per cent to the total television viewership, it commands only two per cent of the entire television ad revenue pie. This is because of the baggage that the space has been carrying over the years where advertisers are used to paying to the GECs,” avers Jaipuria.

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74% FDI in DTH raises security concerns

December 29, 2008

Jawahar Goel, the managing director of Dish TV, is unequivocally opposed to increasing the limit of foreign investment in direct-to-home (DTH) sector in India from the current 49 per cent to 74 per cent.

In conversation with Shuchi Bansal, Goel focuses on security as a major concern in case the government raises the FDI bar.

Why are you against increasing the FDI limit for DTH?

There is a clause in the DTH Policy which states that “all foreign personnel likely to be deployed by way of appointment, contract or consultancy etc. by the licensee for installation, maintenance and operation of the licensee’s services shall be required to obtain security clearance from the government of India prior to their deployment.”

On one hand, such a clause was included in the policy because broadcasting and uplinking stations must be secure.

But now the government is keen to give away management control in DTH operations to foreign nationals. If it does that, it must remove the clause. We’ve raised the security issue in the past, too, as the proposal was on the verge of getting clearance some time ago. We are only asking the government to take a informed view of the situation.

Did you make a presentation to the ministry recently?

Yes. The ministry officials asked us to show the single messaging system which DTH technology makes possible. This means that any DTH operator can send a message to an individual viewer on his\her TV screen. You can imagine the implications of this service if it’s not handled responsibly.

Currently, the service is banned by the government. This could be a security concern and we have been told that there is no way to intercept these messages.

But wouldn’t the increased foreign investment limit help the DTH sector which is making huge losses?

Today not a single company has exhausted its foreign investment limit. Within 49 per cent , the Foreign Direct Investment limit currently is not more 20 per cent. The remaining 29 per cent is NRIs, OCB and FIIs. May be the sectoral divide could be removed so that FDI could go up within the 49 per cent limit.

If Rupert Murdoch moves up his stake in Tata Sky to 74 per cent, he could gobble up Dish TV. Is that a worry?

I think every Indian should be worried about Rupert Murdoch. We have seen how he operates in other countries. Having said that, we are not worried about Tata Sky. We still register more subscribers than Tata Sky every day at 5,000 boxes. What the DTH players need to worry about is Sun Direct enrolling 12,000 customers a day.

Thanks : Bussiness Standards

Hindi GEC’s losing channel share rapidly

November 22, 2008

Almost all the Hindi general entertainment channels (GEC) – Star Plus, Colors, Zee TV, Sony, NDTV Imagine, 9X and Sahara One have been airing repeats of their programmes since November 10.

The GEC’s are losing channel share rapidly, all of which is being attributed to the dearth of fresh programming on Indian television. New data has revealed that television rating points (TRPs) started plummeting even before the scheduled reruns from November 10, with viewer fatigue setting in at the end of October itself. At the end of October, most viewers had already started moving away from GECs to movie, news, regional and cricket channels.

The unresolved dispute between television producers and the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) has only worsened matters. GEC is the biggest category for investment by advertisers. The current impasse could destabilise future advertorial inventory with broadcaster, who are adopting a wait-and-watch policy.

According to research firm TAM’s weekly data for cable and satellite homes in the Hindi speaking markets, a significant loss of market share preceded the re-runs.

From October 26 to November 1, the share of Star Plus dipped to 24% from 27% in the preceding week. The channel continued to rule at the numero uno spot during the week. Star Plus’ weekend strategy was to rely on dance-based reality show Nach Baliye 4, followed by Voice of India, which the channel hopes has brought in the numbers.

Colors, which was second in the ranking, was the only channel to increase its channel share to 20% (Oct 26 to Nov 1) from 18% in the previous week. In a bid to rein in slipping TRPs, broadcasters have rejigged their shows.

Zee TV’s share declined to 15% from its earlier 17% channel share. Sony Entertainment Television (SET) was in the fourth spot with 8% share down from 9%, followed by NDTV Imagine and Star One with 7% share (earlier 8%) each. Sahara One and 9X were on the same rung with 5% share each (earlier 6%) during the same period.

Hindi movie channels battle for kids eyeballs

May 27, 2008

Hindi movie channels are finding a new way to get into the viewing of kids. They are creating specific slots that will air movies for the 4-14-year-olds, a move that will put them up against the kids channels.

Filmy, the movie channel from Sahara’s stable, has launched a dedicated slot for kids. Zee Cinema has followed suit with Dopahar Zee Cinema Par.

In April, Filmy created the ‘Junior Filmy’ Sunday block from 10 am to 2 pm to fill it with two back-to-back movies. This came on the back of an experiment carried out in July last year with the screening of The Jungle Book Series in the same time band.

“We tasted success for two months. Our next logical step was to create a dedicated kids slot on the movie channel that generally doesn’t segment audiences according to age groups,” says Filmy business head Shailesh Kapoor.

A month later, it was Zee Cinema which branded a special kids daily slot from 19 May. The Dopahar Zee Cinema Par slot at 12:30 pm has Darsheel Safary of Taare Zameen Par fame as the brand ambassador.

Star Gold has also hopped on the bandwagon, starting a three-week long festival Baccha Party from 7 April. The dedicated kids slot has screenings of such movies like The Mummy Returns, Bhago Bhoot, Karamati Coat, Prahlad, Penguins Ki Prem Kahani and Haatim.

In the month of June, Star Gold will also be airing kids movies on Sundays in the morning time band Weekend Matinee. The films include Antariksh, Jurrasic Park, Chain Kulli Ki Main Kulli and Krishna- Aayo Natkhat Nandalal.

Kids are an interesting segment to tap, says Kapoor. “Kids form potential viewership of our channel. Puting up a kids slot, with special children films on it, is a conscious attempt to increase the viewership and provide variety.”

Creating characters to promote the slot

Filmy and Zee Cinema are running the extra mile to promote the slot.

Filmy, for instance, has introduced Five Juniors as presenters – Pink Rose, Miss B, Gadbad Gobbar, Jaggu Jasoos and Mr Octopus. These juniors pop up from time to time, offering children a different viewing experience throughout the movie.

“The Five Juniors are animated characters, graphics and pop ups which keep occurring during the movies. This is specially customised to keep the kid viewers invovle in the film in an engaging manner. Apart from this, a contest question is asked during every break of the movie,” says Kapoor.

As part of the engagement game, Zee Cinema has introduced Din Mein Taare contest. Kids have to count the stars which appear on the screen while the movie is shown. Five winners from across the country will get a chance to meet Darsheel safary, after the kids carnival is over.

“Meeting Darsheel is a big thing for kids. Darsheel is a kid next door and yet a hero for them. Therefore we have roped him as ambassador for this slot. The idea is to keep the viewer engaged in conversation with the channel using these contests as interactive tools,” says Zee Cinema deputy vice president marketing Akash Chawla.

New brands walk in

Advertisers are flocking in great numbers. And new categories like real estate brands are extending their support. Increasing influence of kids in the buying decisions has, perhaps, contributed to this new enthusiasm from advertisers.

“Apart from the traditional kids’ brands like Parle and Britannia, we have also got FMCG and real estate brands which are putting in money for the kids slot,” says Kapoor.

Lifebuoy is the presenting partner of Zee Cinema’s Dopahar Zee Cinema Par slot. Whirlpool is also one of the sponsors.

Another innovative advertising trend in this season of vacation is that kids channels are advertising in these movie channels to expand their visibility. Nick, for instance, is advertising on Filmy during the Junior Filmy slot.

ACQUISITION

Banking high on the kids slot, Filmy has acquired a lot of the titles from Walt Disney and Sony pictures. The entire series of Karate Kids, Air Bud Series, Spy mate and Duke are being dubbed into Hindi and telecast.

With limited movies in the market and increasing demand, the acquisition prices have also gone high. Taking the syndication route is becoming a popular practice. Filmy has inked barter deal with Pogo for Chhota Chetan and Abra Ka Dabra.

“Programming cost has definitely gone up. When you are pumping in so much of money, there should be equal returns. Syndication and barter has emerged as new business models which we still need to get further pushed,” says Kapoor.

Filmy is looking at creating Junior Filmy as a permanent slot. “We are targetting kids between 12-14 years. We are giving them enough time to sample the channel and get habituated. Four years from now, they can form the core TG of our channel. So we are looking at long term benefits,” elaborates Kapoor.

Zee Cinema, however, is using the kids slot as a summer two-month push to attract them during vacation time.

For a channel that is sitting on a huge library, Zee Cinema has made no new purchases. It is utilising the films that it already has in its library – Fun2sh, Pyaare Mohan, Ishq, Tarzan The Wonder Car and Makdee. Apart from these, the channel shows Englsih films like George of the Jungle and Return to the 36th chamber of Chaolin which are dubbed in Hindi.

“Our library is big enough and the titles that we have chosen have consistently done well for the channel. So we decided to put them all together in a slot and run a festival,” points out Chawla.

On the other hand Filmy has long term plans and wants to establish the slot as a complete kids destination.

“We are looking at it for long term. We still need to give this slot at least 5-6 months to consolidate. In the meantime, we are promoting it on-air and will go on-ground slowly. We want to establish this slot,” says Kapoor.

Animation is the sudden cessation of creativity stupidity

May 20, 2008

Animation is the biggest industry after IT / BPO and Networking. Computer animation is one of the most rapidly growing areas of creative and technical development. Computer-generated 3D sequences in television & movies, special effects, computer-animated simulator rides, computer video games and virtual environments are some of the more visible applications of 3D computer animation.

The general growth is mostly seen in the latest movies, television serials and advertisements, the creativity stupidity. One such example could be the ‘bubblegum’ advertisement on television or the most famous mosquito killer advertisement of ‘All Out’. Animations are used in educational field to help understand the children in a better way. Various diagrams and figures are taught with the help of 2D animation.

“Studies taught verbally are not as much effective as they being taught with the help of visual media”, says Rolika from Arena Multi Media, Jaipur.

“According National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), skilled manpower demand-supply gap is huge and the current training infrastructure is inadequate to help narrow the gap. By 2010, the industry will grow to a level of providing jobs for 300,000 professionals in India”, says Rajni from Animaster, Jaipur.

But there also lies a problem. The trained animation experts in the country are expected to be just above 3700. The manpower in the animation industry is expected to grow at a cumulative average growth rate of 14% through 2010. As the studios expand their facilities, they will put pressure on manpower supply.

The animation industry is expected to be $869-million market by 2010 as against the global market of around $59 billion. Poised for growth in India, Animation usage has expanded not only in the field of cartoons but also in Films, Television, Gaming, Music, Internet, Digital products and Services. Website designing and development are recent additions to it.

A career in computer animation is exciting, fast changing and rewarding area to be involved with. Well-qualified professionals in this area are, and will, in the foreseeable future, continue to be in great demand internationally and command substantial rewards. The Internet age has created a growing demand globally for talented animation artists.

Gone are the days when animations were distant dream for Indian media. Animations are used in most of the Bollywood movies to create special effects or characters. There are linguistic cartoon sequels created for small screen.

“Jaipur is expected to have a film city just like Mumbai in a near future. The team is being created from Mumbai itself for the set up”, says Subashish from Gekco, Jaipur.

Animation can be learnt by anyone who has creative skills. The course doesn’t really need a technical background but an engineering and arts student would have better scope in the field. The course’s cost and duration varies and depends on an individual’s learning abilities. A professionally skilled animator can kick start his/her career with a salary package of 1.2 lakh to 1.8 lakh per annum.

With the increase in the outsourcing, the demand and supply are not at the equal ratio. More skilled man-power is required in India to meet the demand criteria.

Yet Rolika from Arena Multi Media claims that “in foreign countries the man-power is less and hence they pay more for outsourcing to meet the demand ratio. While in India, with more population and handsome outsourcing the demand criteria are met.”

In computer animations, a number of quite distinct and specialized application areas are emerging. New computer generated animation technologies are evolving everyday & the future is certainly bright and colorful.

Channels line up battle for afternoon viewers

March 21, 2008

The Hindi General entertainment Channel (GEC) space is getting replete with strategies, counter strategies, experiments and innovations.

While newbie NDTV Imagine has grabbed the number three position with Ramayan as its content driver, Zee Tv has topped the prime-time slot with shows like Banoo Main Teri Dulhann and Mayka.

The battle for supremacy in prime time is being fought hard by Star Plus and Zee. The other GECs are also investing heavily to grab viewership in this time band as it attracts a major chunk of the revenues.

However, the story does not just end at the prime time. Since a major chunk of the total GRPs comes from prime time, every channel wants to leverage it. But the fact remains that a Hindi GEC with the core target of active female viewers has to focus not only on the prime time but also on the afternoon slot, which is the second most sought-after in terms of revenues.

While at the moment only Star Plus, Zee TV and 9X are the players that have an afternoon slot with fresh programmes, others in the field have either repeats of their prime-time shows or movies. But they are also eyeing this space.

To understand the dynamics, let’s take a look at the afternoon slots of these channels.

  1:00 pm – 1:30 pm 1:30 pm – 2:00 pm 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm 2:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Star Kumkum Bhabhi KAA Grahasti
Zee Saath Saath Rakhi Meri Doli Tere Angana

Star Plus has its top performing shows which have been traditionally doing well for it. The slot begins witn KUMKUM at 1 pm followed by Bhabhi and Karam Apna Apna at 1:30 pm and 2:00 pm, respectively. All the three shows have delivered well for the channel. What is interesting to see is that two of these shows are from Balaji Telefilms. The third show is Grihasthi, which was launched last month, replacing Sarrthi at 2:30.

Zee presently has Sath Sath at 1 pm, Rakhi at 1:30 pm and Meri Doli Tere Angana at 2 pm.

STRATEGY

It was Star who first dominated the afternoon turf with fresh programmes. Zee had, more or less, fixed its eyes on the lucrative prime-time band.

Until May 2007, afternoons on Zee TV meant a repeat of prime-time shows. But having stabilised the prime-time band, Zee launched the attack to grab the afternoon viewers.

The first to fill this space was Meri Doli Tere Angana on at 2 pm. This was then followed by the launch of Rakhi at 1:30 pm in August.

Zee’s strategy was to first hit the slot where Star Plus was relatively weak and from 2 pm to move to the 1 pm band.

“We have already consolidated the prime time and now our focus is on the afternoon slot,” says Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (Zeel) president of revenue Joy Chakraborthy.

This obviously came as a strategy to increase the GRPs for the channel.

On Star Plus’ front, the “K” shows from Balaji Telefilms have been the ruling ragas on the channel. Interestingly, of the present lot of the K shows, two are on the afternoon band – Kumkum and Karam Apna Apna. All the three shows are running for long and have consistently delivered well for the channel.

The consistency and loyalty of viewers reflect well in the TRPs these shows deliver. How will Zee break the cult?

“We are gradually building over the slot with shows. Moreover, one should not forget that Star Plus has been running these shows for two to three years and the loyalty has been built already. Gradually, we will also secure the afternoon slot with shows targeted towards women,” says Chakraborthy.

It seems the hide-and-seek game will persist for some more time.

FEASIBILITY

Launching a slot is not an easy job because revenues play an important role. Every slot should be workable.

With huge monies involved, channels need to be more cautious while launching shows. The afternoon band also is relatively low paying but there is potential to up the rates.

“The CPRP is also lower and because of which the afternoon inventory is choc-a-block and that makes an investment worth returns,” says Chakraborthy.

“The female viewership is higher in the afternoon slot because of which there are 65 per cent to 70 per cent of FMCG brands advertising in the afternoon slot,” he adds.

However, the trend remains that the prime time, which constitutes the major chunk of the GRPs, has to be consolidated first and then comes the daily afternoon slot.

If that is the case, Zee launching an afternoon slot makes sense. But the middle rung channels which are still toddling behind have to still give it a thought.

“The investments that go into producing the shows are huge but the RoIs have to be equally huge. At this time, we want to establish our prime time. However, afternoon is something that needs to be addressed on our channel and we will focus on it very soon,” says Sahara One programming head Kalyan Sundaram.

“With this kind of investment, a lot of research needs to be done and everything has to be worked out,” adds Sundaram.

  12:00 pm- 12:30 pm 12:30 pm – 1:00pm 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm 1:30 pm – 2:00 pm
9x Rasme Rasoi Dahhej Neelajanaa Veeranwali

Industry observers say that only after the prime time is strengthened, the channel should intrude the afternoon slot. Traditionally that has been the case.

Kumkum was a low-budget show, and later on went on to become the major driver of the channel.

“I was involved in the mounting process of Kumkum which was the show that gave insight of using afternoon slot for building GRPs,” says Sony Entertainment Television (SET) creative head Sanjay Upadhyay.

The other channels repeat the shows that are aired in the prime time.

“Repeats drive the prime-time slot. It is our extended offering to viewers who could not catch the shows at prime time. We don’t want to get scattered everywhere. As the industry says, first strengthen the prime time and then focus on afternoon. By showing repeats, we are trying to build up our prime time and as far as movies are concerned, they have their own strengths,” adds Upadhyay.

9X, which is a new entrant in the genre, launched its afternoon slot in January 2008 with Rasm-E-Rasoi at 12:00 noon. 12:30 pm has a repeat of a prime-time show Daheej. Then comes Neelanjana at 1 pm and Veeranwali at 1:30 pm – both of which are fresh shows.

9X’s afternoon slot begins at 12 noon which is one hour ahead of Star Plus and Zee’s slot.

“A strong daily afternoon band will only add variety to the offerings of a GEC, which have to be rich and varied because it’s a general entertainment channel. We have two original daily dramas and a cookery show. We wanted to offer our key audiences the best of programming not just in prime time but in the afternoons too,” says INX Media founder-CEO Indrani Mukerjea.

Star and Zee have fresh programming in the afternon slot, but they have an established prime time. Considering that, isn’t it too early for 9X to launch the afternoon slot with fresh programmes?

“These programming decisions are in keeping with our business plan, and we have a long-term perspective. We believe that the homemaker female audiences need good, original programming that informs and entertains in the afternoons. Hence, we are offering cookery shows and two original daily dramas for them,” adds Mukerjea.