POV: Is the No 1 slot for GECs Up for Grabs?

By Sangeeta Tanwar , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | May 27, 2010
Last year, Colors emerged as the new leader amongst GECs. This year, the channel has seen a decline in GRPs. Does that mean the No.1 slot is again up for a grab? afaqs seeks opinion

Rajiv Gopinath, Chief Operating Officer, Madison Platinum

I would focus on a core female TG to draw insights. We are in shorter phases of dominance today and there will be an increasing frequency in churn. This is because:

Star Plus leads by a healthy margin in the non-prime weekday day part, Zee leads in the prime time weekday daypart and its a topsy turvy battle on the weekends as Sony also becomes a force to reckon with.

In weekday prime, the reach builder slot (the day part when maximum viewers tune in) the number of 'not so good performers' has reduced. All the three have just one or two weak slots, which is a healthy state for all three.

The blockbuster prime time programmes have strong competition - Balika Vadhu is in for a long battle with Jhansi Ki Rani, Na Aana Is Des Laado has been upstaged by Pratigyaa. So, a channel's health gets sustained through a new daypart.

Each channel has its pockets of strength. Colors in Delhi, Rajasthan and UP. Zee in Punjab and Maharashtra. Star Plus in Gujarat and now in UP. This implies higher local initiatives (for distribution, marketing and programming) in large contributing markets of the Hindi-speaking market base.

Rohit Gupta, President, Network Sales, Licensing and Telephony, MSM

In TV, nothing is constant. One or two top performing shows can change things in the top order. And other shows, too, can ride on the success of your top perfoming serials.

Moving into the future there will be constant churning at the top because the No 1 player cannot hold on to its position for long, as used to be the case earlier. At present, the gap between the No 1, No 2 and No 3 channel is not large. Earlier there used to be a huge gap of 100 and 150 GRPs between the No 1 and, say, No 3 GEC. Today the gap between the top three or four GECs has narrowed down to just 50 or 60 GRPs.

When you can choose two to three channels to build reach, no channel is a must-have. Large clients have long-term deals in place and they negotiate from time to time with the channel depending upon its perfomance. The smaller players' commitment is not long term so they manage to slip in and out of deals.

Manas Mishra, Head, Mudra Connext

I don't think the No 1 slot was ever occupied 'for long' in the recent past. While the channel shares of Star Plus have been on the rise of late, the top three channels in GEC are still neck-to-neck. After huge gains in early 2010, Colors has lost some bit of ground, but nothing is final.

Channel shares of the top three GEC channels have been in the 6-8 per cent (8-week average, HSM, C&S, 4+) band in the last 12 months and the difference in shares between the top three channels has been 'one percentage point' on average.

There is some churn but that's the nature of the game now. The huge gap in the viewership between a first ranker and a second ranker is a thing of the past.

Channels are ready to change story plots to suit viewer preferences and stem any viewership decline. Investment horizons are getting longer and there is greater maturity in the way programming is being planned.

Greater competition is good for all and we welcome this.

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