The Indian television industry, these days, are literally flooded with talent hunt shows - be it general entertainment channels such as Sony and ZEE, or niche channels such as National Geographic, or even a sports channels such as ESPN.
Despite the overkill, viewers are seemingly lapping it up.
Among all talent hunt shows, Indian Idol certainly emerges as a leader by achieving a average TVR of 5.41 (source: TAM, Hindi Speaking markets, 4+) in the first week of the launch of the show. In comparison, ZEE's India's Best: Cinestar Ki Khoj got an average TVR of 2.15 in the first of week of its launch, which happened in July. In the week ended October 30 (after Indian Idol was launched), India's Best managed an average TVR of 2.01 in the Hindi speaking markets.
The TVR of ZEE's India's Best may be half of that achieved by Sony's Indian Idol, but taking the TVRs of the best shows of ZEE into consideration, the figure is certainly encouraging.
Asititva: Ek Prem Kahani, which has been one of the top scoring serials on ZEE, has an all-time high TVR of 1.89 since January, 2004. Hero Honda Saregamapa, another show on ZEE hunting for a professional singer, managed an all-time high TVR of 3.21 since January, 2004 vis-a-vis India's Best which has all time high TVR of 3.1.
Similarly, Indian Idol has certainly fared well among Sony's other top scoring programmes. On Sony, Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin, CID and Kkusum are the shows which generate numbers for the channel. Since January 1, 2004, Jassi, CID and Kkusum have got all-time high TVRs of 6.78, 6.55 and 6.38, respectively. In comparison, Indian Idol's average TVR of 5.41 in the opening week is something the channel is certainly happy about.
If one looks at the 15-34 year age group, which is the core target group of these shows, the TVR figures are even higher. While Indian Idol managed an average TVR of 7.24 in the Hindi speaking markets, India's Best got an average TVR of 3.01 during the week ending October 30.
In the same age group of 15-34, the viewership is even higher in cities such as Mumbai and Delhi. For instance, in the opening week, Mumbai generated an average TVR of 9.55 for India Idol, while Delhi generated 11.07. Similarly, India's Best got an average TVR of 4.74 in its first week in Mumbai, while the TVR for the Delhi market was 2.29 in the corresponding period.
Media planners attribute several factors behind the success of these shows. Arpita Menon, general manager, FCB Lodestar is of the opinion that any music or Bollywood-based show sells in India, and if it is combined with talent hunt, the chances of success is even higher. She says, "Previous records indicate that programmes such as Saregamapa and Antakshari have done very well."
She adds, "There is a special thrill attached to these programmes as many of us consider ourselves to be armchair cricketers and bathroom singers. So, whenever an opportunity comes to showcase one's talent, everyone jumps for it."
What Menon says could certainly be the reason behind the large number of participants that these shows have, but does it also convert into viewership for the shows?
Yes, apparently, it does. Hiren Pandit, general manager, Mindshare, says, "Everyone likes watching a story of a journey from rags to riches. This certainly generates viewership for the shows."
Another definite reason contributing to the success of these shows is the interactivity in these shows. That guarantees the viewer-participation in this shows remains very high. A media planner says, "It's the viewers who select the final winner in these shows, which in a way, helps them connect with the programme."
Pandit is a bit unsure about the future prospects of such programmes. He feels, while the present hype has helped the shows garner initial viewership, the bubble may just burst one day. He says, "One needs to have variations in the content of the programming."
Channels are doing just that. While ZEE's India's Best, which is all about a hunt for acting talents, has several in-built variations in its show, Sony's Indian Idol, which has just finished its initial rounds, will certainly have many variations as the next rounds will showcase how the selected participants are groomed, along with their dancing and acting talents.
The credit for the success of these shows also goes to the extensive and aggressive marketing of these shows. A media planner comments, "While the content of the shows is very important in helping the shows to maintain a consistent viewership, marketing too has certainly helped the programmes to create the much-required initial hype."
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