The channel has been consistently growing its viewership in an otherwise dull spell.
Star India's second general entertainment channel (GEC) Life OK broke into the top-three in the category in week 22 (May 25-31), according to TAM ratings.
Outstripping the GEC from Viacom18, Colors, Life OK garnered a television viewership in million (TVM) of 365 - a rise of 33 TVM from the previous week.
Even if Life OK loses its third spot with fresh ratings, due on Thursday, it has managed to maintain a healthy margin over its competitor, Sab TV, for the past six weeks.
The channel has managed to stay away from soaps on kitchen politics and has been refreshing its content to reduce dependence on any one show for ratings. Barring the mythological saga Mahadev, Life OK has no show on air that has been on since its launch. The channel has made a conscious effort to introduce one new show every three to four months, if not more. During the Indian Premier League (IPL), most channels, including Hindi GECs, stay away from big-ticket innovations.
The top-rated show on the channel has a rating of 2.8 TVM, followed by Savdhan India at 2.6 TVM. Tumhari Pakhi and Ek Boond Ishq rated 2.4 TVM and 2.1 TVM, respectively. The inaugural edition of the Now Awards rated 2.3 TVM.
Ajit Thakur, general manager, Life OK, says, "As a channel, we have always followed a disruptive path. So, in the final week of the IPL, when other GECs were taking it slow, we decided to have high points in most of our shows. This has paid off. Of course, the Now Awards has contributed as well, but it's not solely responsible for the spike with a rating of around 2 TVM."
Launched in December 2011 after Star India took off its erstwhile Star One, it is one of the two Hindi GECs launched in the previous 10 years to have sustained itself. Sources reveal that the channel is also one of the fastest to have managed to break even.
"Its consistent rise in ratings has held Life OK in good stead with advertisers. Advertisers flock to these channels (Life OK and Sab TV) to get frequency, and as long as the ratings stack up, they are happy to invest," says Karthik Lakshminarayan, COO, Madison Media Ultra.
Manish Bhardwaj of Arise India says, "Life OK has been on a tremendous growth trajectory and consistently improved its offerings. Starting from shows such as Mahadev and Savdhan India to the new leading shows, Tumhari Paakhi, Gustakh Dil, there is a lot of appeal. It is a great platform for our brand."
According to industry estimates, the rates on Life OK and Sab TV are usually 30 per cent lower than the four flagship GECs - Star Plus, Colors, Zee TV and SET (Sony).
Life OK's spike in ratings comes on the back of inflection points in the storylines in all the channel's leading shows like Shapath, Savdhaan India, Super Cops, Ek Boond Ishq and Tumhari Pakhi. The channel also had extended programming of its crime docu-drama Savdhaan India.
Thakur intends to maintain the momentum by continuing with non-traditional content on the channel. The channel is preparing to launch two new shows - a modern-day crime thriller and a show with Ekta Kapoor, which has a Bollywood cast.
Thakur's creative team consists of Bollywood scriptwriters, advertising professionals and some debutant fiction writers. "We have mythology, events, innovative reality, love stories and drama on the channel. We will now look at adventure and coming-of-age, but in the form of fiction," says Thakur.
Star Plus continues to rule as the leader with 655 TVM, while Zee TV is at number two with 400 TVM. Would Life OK be able to sustain its growth?