STAR Plus hopes to strike gold with the extension of two of its daily soaps, Bidaai and Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai (YRKKH), on weekends. From October 24, the shows are being telecast on weekends as well.
The two soaps will entertain viewers on Monday-Sunday at 9 pm and 9:30 pm respectively. Earlier, the same slot was occupied by the chat show, Tere Mere Beach Mein (TMBM) hosted by choreographer and film director Farah Khan.
Keertan Adyanthaya, executive vice-president and general manager, STAR Plus, says, "We believe in innovating and redefining entertainment and with the initiative of extending our primetime properties to the weekends, we have proved that yet again. This is an innovation which we are doing with our two prime time shows which have ruled the TRP charts week after week and are still going strong. The main objective is to deliver more of the audience's favourite shows every week."
Both Bidaai and YRKKH are top rated shows and garner highest TVRs for the channel. As per the latest TAM ratings, in Week 42 (C&S, 4+, HSM), YRKKH and Bidaai, with TVRs of 5.68 and 5.49, made it as the No.4 and No. 5 shows respectively in the list of Top 10 programmes on GECs (general entertainment channels).
Jain adds that the move is aimed towards having a consistent stream of revenue. With intense competition in the GEC space, the channel is not in a position to raise its price. With pressure on the inventory, it's a good opportunity to extend its in-demand shows and engage in effective sales for two more days.
The channel for one appears to be confident of its move in a trade where fiction shows normally have four-five episodes in a week. "It will be interesting to see how the audience will accept such a change. We will evaluate the viewer feedback on this extension and take the necessary appropriate steps in the time to come," shares Adyanthaya.
Some view STAR Plus's move to be a stop gap arrangement - to once again put in place its weekend programming. R Venkatasubramanian, vice-president, Lintas Media Group, explains, "Since the channel did not have any programme ready for the weekend primetime slot, it seems to have decided to extend its weekday programming, with an eye on retaining the primetime slot created by the previous show, TMBM at 9 pm. The channel is not taking any chances with repeat content due to the fear of losing out the slot to competitors."
In fact, before the launch of TMBM, the weekend prime time slot on STAR Plus was non-existent and as is the case with many others, the GEC was either running blockbuster movies or an award function in the slot.
Currently, other channels have reality shows or movies running on weekends. Given this, how well prepared is STAR Plus to take on the competition? Adyanthaya admits that the weekend is predominantly ruled by reality shows and blockbuster movies but it sees merit in trying to do things differently and hopes that the novelty of airing two primetime shows on weekends will click with the audience as well.
Media pundits also do not make much of STAR Plus' move resulting in blurring the distinct divide between weekday and weekend programming. A senior media planner from the industry emphasises that the line was blurred a long time ago when reality shows made inroads into Indian homes on weekdays.