ZEE thanks its STARs, eyes to topple Sony

By , agencyfaqs! | In | January 07, 2005
While STAR Plus has increased its market share, the battle for the number two position is suddenly heating up

After a few years of poor form, ZEE has again come back into reckoning and is within striking distance to become the number two among general entertainment channels.

TAM figures indicate that in the last few weeks, ZEE's channel share is going neck and neck with Sony Entertainment Television, the current number two channel.

Everything was fine from Sony's perspective till week 47 (starting November 21, 2004). That week, according to TAM Media Research (C&S, 4+, Hindi speaking markets), the channel share of Sony was 29 per cent with a TVR of 0.80, compared to ZEE's share of only 15 per cent with TVR of 0.41.

From the very next week, Sony started slipping. In week 48 (starting November 28, 2004), the channel share of Sony went down to 19 per cent with a TVR of 0.56, where ZEE's channel share remained at 15 per cent with a TVR of 0.45.

During these two weeks (week 47 and 48), STAR Plus' channel share moved to 57 per cent (TVR of 1.66) from 47 per cent (TVR of 1.28).

For Sony, the trend worsened in week 50 when its channel share came down to 16 per cent compared to ZEE's 13. Week 51 saw Sony with a 17 per cent channel share as opposed to ZEE's 14 per cent.

Kajal Thakur, regional director, OMS (Optimum Media Solutions) says, "The number one player STAR Plus, after having a consistent market share, has again started to grow. Now, the battle for the number two position has become very competitive with ZEE and Sony fighting neck and neck."

As seen in the TAM statistics, she reiterates that Sony's loss has been more of STAR Plus' gain than of ZEE's. "What's heartening is that ZEE has been able to maintain a consistent viewership with a couple of new shows," she says.

For instance, the concluding episodes of ZEE's India's Best Cinestar Ki Khoj managed an all time high TVR of 4.76 in week 48. Even the other new show Kareena Kareena managed a TVR of 1.09 and 1.08 in week 48 and week 51, respectively. Even Astitva Ek Prem Kahani, which has been one of the popular shows for ZEE, got a TVR of 1.47 and 1.17 in week 48 and week 51, respectively.

Thakur adds, "While Asititva Ek Prem Kahani created a viewership base for ZEE, India's Best and Kareena Kareena helped it in adding more viewers.

Meanwhile, Sony's crown jewels have begun to lose lustre. Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin, which in 2004 got an all time high TVR of 6.78, managed to get a TVR of only 3.2 in week 47, going further down to 2.9 in week 48 , and finally to 2.73 in week 51. Even Kkusum, another top scoring show for Sony that got an all time time high TVR of 6.38, went down from a TVR of 4.51 to 4.01 during this period.

A Delhi-based media planner says, "The probable reason why the viewership Jassi... went down was that Sony's focus shifted too much on Indian Idol. That affected Jassi. The storyline of Jassi was also not to exciting any more. However, Kkusum managed to have a consistent viewership."

Indian Idol, which started with a bang, also went downhill in the subsequent episodes. From a high of 5.78 in the initial week, the viewership went down to 4.9 in week 47 and 48. But in week 51, the show struck back with a TVR of 5.45.

"What must be frustrating for Sony is its inability to leverage its top scoring shows and draw more viewers for subsequent programmes, a la STAR Plus," comments another senior media planner, who declines to be identified.

Ambika Shrivastava, CEO, Zenith Optimedia is of the opinion that Sony too has tried to build viewership for new shows through cross promotions but has not been so successful. "STAR has a bigger bouquet in comparison to Sony. As a result, serials on STAR Plus get a larger platform for promotions." What also works to the advantage of STAR Plus is its large number of successful shows, which induces viewers to shift to the following time slots. Srivastava believes that in 2005, the number two position in the general entertainment genre could fluctuate between Sony and ZEE week-on-week.

"Even STAR Plus could be in for some tough times as the gap between the number one channel and the two number twos would also get narrowed," she says. "Already such a trend is being seen in the 9-10 pm time slot. This effect could also be carried forward to other time-slots eventually," she adds.

There are, of course, a few media planners who are bullish about Sony. Hiren Pandit, general manager, MindShare says, "I agree that Sony's share has gone down for a few weeks, but it's just a matter of time when Indian Idol, now with an interesting format, and Jassi, with a new look, will help Sony regain its position. I'm sure that these two shows will continue delivering viewership for the channel." Planners are also looking forward to Sony launching another talent hunt show - Dance Dance.

So, will the tide turn for Sony? Or, will the ZEE tsunami eclipse it?

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