There has been a spate of new shows being launched on all Hindi GECs that are keen to up the ante and drive viewership. The channels hope to gain an edge over their competitors with the fresh, selective content.
Soaps take the lead, non-fiction follows
Majority of the new shows are daily soaps or dramas - Nisha Aur Uske Cousins on Star Plus, Jamai Raja on Zee TV, Udaan and Shastri Sisters on Colors, Laut Aao Trisha on Life OK, and a host of new fiction shows on Zindagi such as Dekh Kabira Roya, Pehli Si Mohabbat and Bissat.
Elaborating on the new content, Priyanka Datta, Business Head, Zindagi said, “We focused on hand picking the best dramas from across the border; stories that Indian viewers would be able to relate with. These are dramas that portray similar culture and understanding of society; have strong storytelling and a natural finesse of language.”
Even though soaps have been at the forefront of the offering from Hindi GEC, a couple of channels have been experimenting. For instance Sony TV’s Yudh, directed by Anurag Kashyap, starring Amitabh Bachchan and Star Plus' Airlines, a contemporary love story set in the aviation backdrop are definitely a roll of the dice. SAB TV too has recently launched another comedy series called Chandrakant Chiplunkar Seedi Bambawala.
Reality and game shows too have been part of the new arsenal. Star Plus has just launched musical reality show, India’s Raw Stars with singer Yo Yo Honey Singh in a format that has been tweaked to break from the clutter of similar shows. Zee TV on the other hand has launched a reality show called India’s Best Cine Stars Ki Khoj with actors Parineeti Chopra and Ayushmann Khurrana as hosts, and Dhoom 3 director Vijay Krishna Acharya and Sonali Bendre as judges. While Colors has decided instead to opt for something different with The Anupam Kher Show, Life OK's Dare2Dance with Akshay Kumar will be launched soon. Sony TV will continue its star trail with Amitabh Bachchan hosting Season 8 of Kaun Banega Crorepati
Time to compete
New shows, KBC Season 8 (Sony TV), Udaan (Colors) and Nisha Aur Uske Cousins (Star Plus) have been pitted against each other in the 8:30 pm slot. So has the newly launched show Jamai Raja on Zee TV, which has already done extremely well in its first week, raking in ratings of 5.5 TVMs in week 32 (August 3-9).
On the other hand, Shastri Sisters has been doing fairly well at the time slot of 7 pm as it started off its ratings with an average of 1.9 TVMs then fell to 1.2 TVMs in week 31 to climb back again to 1.4 in week 32. It has been facing tough competition from Star Plus’ top show Saath Nibhana Saathiya at the same time slot, with an average rating of 9.0 TVMs and definitely looks tough to topple. On the other hand Laut Aao Trisha, which is placed at the 10 pm slot, started off well with ratings of 2.5 TVMs in the initial week but slipped to 1.7 TVMs in week 32. It does not face much competition except for Maharana Prathap on Sony TV, which also largely appeals to the male viewership.
Commenting on this, Raj Nayak, CEO, Colors said, “When you launch a show you do so because you have conviction in your content. There is no formula for success. At the end of the day you give it your best shot and hope that the viewers will resonate with what you have shown them. Besides, fiction is something that grows over a period of time. All Hindi GECs would think about how the shows will perform when pitted against each other.”
There is plenty of action on Sunday evenings with new shows competing with the old favourites in the 9 pm slot. Airlines (Star Plus) and India’s Best Cine Stars Ki Khoj (Zee TV) are up against top rated Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa (4.8 TVMs week 32; Colors), Shapath (2.8 TVMs week 32; Life OK) and Crime Patrol (1.8 TVMs; Sony TV). Star Plus has however placed new show India’s Raw Stars at the 7:30 pm slot, which hardly faces any competition and is expected to rake in some good ratings.
Ajit Thakur, General Manager, Life OK, is happy upsetting the established order. “This year has been momentous for Life OK. Not only have we grown strength to strength but we have also successfully managed to challenge the status quo of the industry by presenting content in a different light. We have always been conscious of presenting socially relevant stories and Laut Aao Trisha is one such show, which, with its bold content, borders on thrill, suspense, family drama and touches upon the concept of in-family crimes. We want to present stories without being judgemental.”
The strategy of taking risks with new content is what makes a difference, says Gaurav Banerjee, General Manager, Star Plus. “When you take risks, you have to prepare for some failure as well. And we are ready for that. Thankfully, we have had more things that have worked than not. And we are doing slightly better. It’s okay as long as you learn something.”
Now that each channel has played its best card, all eyes are on the viewer, who will pick a winner in the next few weeks.