STAR Plus has wooed the audience with saas-bahu sagas, love stories and a strong dose of reality for quite some time. With two fresh shows, Bure Bhi Hum Bhale Bhi Hum and Chehra, the general entertainment channel (GEC) is set to experiment with genres such as comedy and horror.
Bure Bhi Hum Bhale Bhi Hum is a family comedy by JD Majethia. The serial is a bittersweet tale of two brothers and their families living under the same roof. Chehra is a thriller, with family drama acting as the backbone of the story.
Viewers will also get to see a period drama full of romance, action and adventure in Shaurya aur Suhaani (a Spheres Origins production). Another soap, Sabki Laadli - Bebo (Endemol India production) is about a family which craves for a girl child.
Anupama Mandloi, senior creative director, STAR Plus, says, "Within the fiction bouquet, the intent is to introduce a variety of genres appealing to a larger cross section of viewers while retaining the core female viewers. We will now have a thriller, action-adventure and a slice-of-life, light hearted show."
The channel is exploring new genres and media observers say that this will work in its favour. Gowthaman Ragothaman, leader, Mindshare South Asia, says, "The new fare promises to be different. At the outset, it looks like the channel is moving in the right direction with a good mix of shows. Even if the new shows manage a TVR of 2 or more, the channel stands to benefit because except one or two top performing shows, new launches by and large struggle to deliver TVRs above 2."
STAR Plus has not only shown eagerness to experiment and innovate by dabbling in new genres but is also apparently going by the revelation that if the content is sticky, it can generate viewership in unconventional slots. Its show, Aap Ki Kachehri, is drawing good viewership even on the unconventional time slot of 10:30 pm. Perhaps this insight has guided the channel to introduce a comedy show in the 7:30 pm slot. It will compete with shows such as Bandhan Saat Janmo Ka on Colors and Chhoti Bahu on Zee TV in this time slot.
Chehra will replace the popular show Aap Ki Kachehri. Till some time ago, the 10:30 pm slot was considered to be a crucial one as Balaji Telefilm's popular serial, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, commanded a huge viewership in this slot. Airing convoluted family dramas in this slot to stretch primetime viewing by the women audience was a common strategy for most of the GECs.
Ragothaman explains, "Today, the fragmented audience no longer exhibits any major genre preference. The concept of pulling in a family with a regular soap at prime time is no longer true. Viewers always watch programmes rather than channels. If the content is good, it will work irrespective of the genre it belongs to."
A senior media observer points out that going by the number of new launches, having a girl child as a protagonist may prove too much for the audience. The subject will ensure sampling across channels but in the end, it will all boil down to freshness and engagement level to differentiate the winners from the losers.