The channel is attempting to create a differentiated format to build viewership for its shows. All it takes is a dramatic theme from a serial which blends itself into a beautiful movie. Till now Maha movies ‘Draupadi – Ek Agnipariksha’, ‘Chakde Sandhya’ and ‘Super coach Akshara’ have been aired.
Star Plus, the No. 1 channel among Hindi GECs, has lately been tapping into its existing content to create a primetime opportunity on Sundays. It has been showcasing serials in a three-hour long film format on the character of the protagonists of the popular serials and, in the process, hook new viewers to the channel.
Nikhil Madhok, Senior VP, Marketing & Programming Strategy, Star Plus, said, “The Maha Movie format of the serials gives great opportunity to both the regular and the non-regular Star Plus viewers. These three hours have the potential to grab the attention of those who are familiar with the ongoing story plot and also those who are not. For viewers belonging to the second category, it is like an invitation to them to ‘Come, enjoy the movie and catch-up with the storyline’. The channel enjoys a good viewership from Monday to Saturday; we, therefore, decided to build our viewership for Sunday by airing the Maha Movies at two time slots – 1 PM and 8 PM.”
The latest Maha Movie to be aired on the channel was ‘Super coach Akshara’ from the serial ‘Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hain’ on July 20. The film highlighted Akshara’s fight to give strength and instil confidence in her son, Naksh, who was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, to play football.
Madhok further explained, “The parameters on which we decide the Maha Movies don’t necessarily depend on the TRP ratings of the serials. All we look for is a dramatic track which blends itself into a beautiful movie. We choose a story plot, which is unique and also engaging at the same time. For example, Akshara, the protagonist in Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hain, dons several hats and the serial also had several twists and turns. But we decided to choose juvenile diabetes for the Maha Movie because, being a mother, Akshara has been handling a very difficult situation in her life, and as a subject also it is very fresh, not many are aware of how rampantly it is growing among kids today.”
The channel embarked on this route by first airing the Maha Movie ‘Draupadi – Ek Agnipariksha’ from the hugely popular serial ‘Mahabharat’. The story was narrated through the eyes of Draupadi and it showed her journey from the beginning to her quest for revenge against the Kauravas which leads to the dawn of the Kurukshetra war.
“It was a good way to introduce the viewers to the pivotal character Draupadi through the movie just before the war. It created excitement among the existing viewers and also got many first-time viewers for the main serial. The Maha Movie created the required buzz which we wanted and as a result of which, according to the latest TAM data for Week 28, ‘Mahabharat’ has once again entered the list of top five serials on television,” said Madhok.
Maha Movie ‘Chakde Sandhya’ from the hugely popular show on Star Plus, ‘Diya Aur Bati Hum’, encapsulated Sandhya’s journey to become an IPS officer. Like the other serials, Diya Aur Bati Hum also boasts of several interesting plots and sub-plots, but the channel decided to go ahead with showcasing Sandhya’s struggle right from the gates of the training academy to her emerging as an IPS officer in the three-hour movie. Madhok commented, “The entire track revolving around her IPS journey ran for more than three months on the channel. This was an interesting juncture in the serial and several promos were also run on the channel. But the ‘Chakde Sandhya’ was for those who missed the promos; it gave an opportunity to the viewers to consume three month of content in a beautifully wrapped three-hour movie.”
Star Plus through this Maha Movie strategy is attempting to create a differentiated format to build viewership for its shows. Hitherto, it used concepts like ‘Kahani Ab Tak’ where either back-to-back episodes of the serial were run on the channel or a 10-minute summary of the story plot. But the Maha Movie format serves as a great sampling opportunity for a serial’s content and also attracts the attention of those who are not regular Star Plus viewers. The marketing of this unique property is done through airing promos on all the channels of the formidable Star Network.