afaqs!

Zee claims leadership in early prime time

By Sangeeta Tanwar , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | March 02, 2009
The recently launched show, Chhoti Bahu has done wonders for the channel, both in term of viewership and revenues

In December 2008, Zee TV launched Chhoti Bahu, a new show to replace Parivaar in the 7:30 pm slot - the early prime time. Today, the show contributes around 20 per cent of the prime time GRPs that Zee garners on weekdays. As per TAM Media Research, in the last three weeks (Weeks 6, 7 and 8), Zee garnered around 270 GRPs during prime time on weekdays (Monday-Thursday), in which Chhoti Bahu's contribution was 54 GRPs.

In its slot, the show has done wonders for the channel -- both in terms of viewership and ad rates. The other shows aired in this time slot are Bandhan Saat Janmo Ka on Colors, Santaan on STAR Plus and Sai Baba on NDTV Imagine.

& #BANNER1 & #In the last three weeks, Chhoti Bahu has garnered a TVR as high as 4.37, which is unprecedented in this time band. In comparison, the other shows receive average TVRs between 0.5 and 2.

In this time band, Zee enjoys a 42 per cent share among all GECs. Colors and STAR Plus follow next, with shares of 19 per cent and 16 per cent, respectively.

Usually, the time slot of 7-30-8.00 pm is considered to be weak and many GECs do not take it very seriously, as it is early prime time. Zee, however, took the strategic step of strengthening this time slot with good programming, which was backed by aggressive marketing.

Anamika Mehta, chief operating officer, Lodestar Universal Media, corroborates this. "The early prime time also holds a lot of potential. But due to the lack of any strong show, this time band never picked up. Zee, as first mover, has claimed leadership in this time slot."

First, Zee placed a high-budget show in this time slot, when other channels have weaker or old shows. Chhoti Bahu could have easily made it to the main prime time, but being scheduled at 7.30 pm, it garnered more viewership for the channel. At a time when the gap between the top GECs is narrowing every week, a small rise in GRPs could change the rules of the game and the overall ranking of the channel.

Zee not only played a well produced show in this time band, it also marketed it very aggressively. As per estimates, the show's marketing budget of Rs 2 crore can be compared to any main prime time show.

Nitin Vaidya, COO, ZEEL (ZEE Entertainment Enterprise Limited), says, "We used outdoor and radio very extensively. First, we ran an outdoor campaign - "Kya patni ka adhikaar bhi mujhe joothan mein milega?" To support that campaign, we also ran a radio contest on recipes made from leftover food (playing on the word 'joothan'). The contest was a hit, so much so that we even printed booklets of recipes made from leftover food."

Even the promos of the show were different. Anita Nayyar, chief executive officer, Havas Media, says, "The promos of the show pitched the show as being different from the regular saas-bahu serials, though the story belongs to the same genre. When the show was announced, comparisons were drawn to the fact that if Colors has Balika Vadhu, then Zee was following suit with Chhoti Bahu. The show desists from unrealistic portrayal of day-to-day situations, unlike the earlier family soaps."

Nayyar is of the view that the success of shows depends on the subject and treatment of content. This is another aspect where Zee scored. Viewers of the 7.30 pm time slot primarily comprise housewives in the age group of 22-24 years. The protagonist of the show is a small-town girl, who is shown compromising on the simple pleasures of married life to keep her husband and in-laws happy. "This is a subject that the viewers of this time slot can relate to," says an industry observer.

Zee has also gained in terms of revenue with the success of this show and is now in a position to command a higher ad rate. For instance, any GEC in this time slot would ask for a maximum ad rate of Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 for 10 seconds. Now, Zee is hoping to hike this. Industry observers say that with a TVR of 4+, Zee can ask for higher rates, at par with the main prime time.

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