For the last two weeks, second rung GECs Life OK and Sab TV have started gaining more traction in the HSM markets. As per data sourced from TAM subscribers, Life OK recorded Gross TVT of 316 million against previous week’s 240 million (Week 31), an increase of 31 per cent.
In Week 31, Sab TV grew by seven per cent and secured 321 million TVTs, taking it ahead of Sony. However, it was displaced to number six this week, with a Gross TVT of 298 million, registering a decline of 22 per cent.
Critics and media planners cite various factors for the rise of the two channels in the last two weeks:
Digitisation In an earlier interaction with exchange4media, Anuj Kapoor, Business Head, Sab TV had mentioned, “With digitisation in place, our placement has become better. We now stand in the same position as the other GECs, so our overall visibility has improved.”
Talking on the same lines, Prateek Seal, Marketing Head, Life OK said, “I firmly agree that digitisation has helped us a lot. In a regular household, families are sampling more options and are willing to see other content that regular GECs offer.”
Content and positioning Critics argue that digitisation is one of the broad reasons, but a far robust cause is better content and positioning of the channels. “The second rung channels are filling a gap that mainline GECs have left. Pitching Life OK against Sony is a clever strategy by STAR India. Programmes such as Mahadev and Savdhaan India are attracting male audiences. So the channels are breaking away from set trends and doing well. But these shifts are periodical. Once Sony launches its upcoming big properties, game would get tougher for Sab TV and Life OK. That would be their real test of traction,” said a senior media planner from Delhi.
Anil Saitharaju of Mudra Max said, “Mahadev for Life OK and Tarak Mehta for Sab TV have been flagship shows. Mahadev showcases mythology to today’s generation in a completely new way. It has taken content to a completely new level and the promos are very good. Same is the case with Sab TV. Both channels are positioning themselves in a very smart way with their content, and one gets a perception that they are not another GEC in the fray.”
Seal of Life OK said, “Our weekday slot has worked a lot. We have launched Gustak Dil, and therefore, viewers are sampling fresh content, which has worked for us.”
In a similar fashion, Sab TV launched Lapataganj once again. The show was the flagship show of the channel earlier.
Maha-episodes Sab TV premiered a special episode of Tarak Mehta, whereas Life OK has regularly showcased special episodes of Mahadev and Savdhaan India. Kapoor of Sab TV had shared earlier in Week 31, “We showcased an hour-long special show of ‘Tarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah’ on Sunday, which garnered a lot of viewership.”
Critics argue that maha-episodes are fillers and gain temporary eyeballs. They also point out that such episodes create a lot of hype, and channels market them excessively.
Coupled with increased advertisers, channels receive good and sustained viewership from the lovers of a particular show, which might migrate in normal weekday scenarios. Hence, most maha-episodes are featured in the weekend slots.
Although Life OK has also gained hype and traction from Mahadev and Savdhaan India’s maha-episode, Seal does not agree with the initiative as a concept. “If the traction has happened without any Maha-episodes, then it is actual traction,” he added.
A senior media planner, on condition of anonymity, said, “Digitisation is happening and the new rating system is bringing surprises. A channel which occupies third position in three weeks gets to number two position when one takes an average in the fourth week. Therefore, one should not conclude anything at the moment. Sab TV and Life OK are gaining, and any channel would gain as its content get better and more accessible. The taste of the audience is changing at a drastic pace. But generalising that the time has come for these channels would be inappropriate. It is better to wait and watch in the current scenario.”
With big shows lined up in the GEC sphere, and every channel coming up with bigger properties, the ranking game is likely to get more intense. But as of now, the above factors are contributing to the growth of the ‘second rung GECs’, a title that is not accepted by respective channels.