Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah proves that content works independent of channel

By Sangeeta Tanwar , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | September 01, 2010
To survive in the GEC space, SAB TV needs to broad base its properties in order to cater to varying tastes of a majority of the TV viewing audience

SAB TV, the family comedy entertainment channel, had reasons to cheer as in Week 32, its show, Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, made it to the Top 10 most watched shows on GECs - with a TVR of 4.3.

& #BANNER1 & #The show, placed No. 8 amongst the Top 10 shows on GECs in Week 32, also saw SAB TV moving from 89 GRPs to 119 GRPs in the same week. The show continued its successful run in Week 34 as well by garnering a record TVR of 5.04.

Launched in July 2008, the show, an adaptation of the Gujarati book by the same name penned by author Tarak Mehta, has completed 431 episodes so far.

According TAM Media Research (C&S, 4+ years, HSM), Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah is SAB TV's most popular show, with an average TVR of 2.72 between January-August 2010.

Commenting on the success of the show and its importance for SAB TV, Amit Ray, president and chief operating officer, Lintas Media Group, says, "The show is a satire-comedy and the popularity of the sitcom establishes that good content and the power of cross promotion on network channels translates into sure shot success. It means that content is ultimately the king and good ratings are channel-platform independent."

The show, airing at 8:30 pm on weekdays, competes with shows such as Behenein on STAR Plus; Bairi Piya on Colors; Yahaan Mein Ghar Ghar Kheli on Zee TV; and Jyoti on Imagine.

None of the other shows in the same slot have yet made it to the Top 10 shows on GECs.

Comparing the success of Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah with other shows in the same slot and on more popular and widely watched channels including STAR Plus and Colors, Ray observes, "When it comes to reach, SAB TV's reach will be lower than, say, a STAR Plus or Colors. The higher TVR enjoyed by Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah means that this show is watched more intently by viewers as compared to other offerings in the same time band. Thus, great content on SAB TV has translated into stickiness for the channel."

In fact, as per the industry experts, this stickiness has enabled SAB TV to fetch a premium for its leading show. A 10-second ad spot on the channel goes for Rs 30,000. Its popular show commands a premium of 15 to 20 per cent. Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah sees its ad slots being sold for Rs 50,000.

Bhavna Jha, general manager, TME Delhi admits that advertisers are willing to pay a premium for a property that is delivering. However, according to her, the way forward for SAB TV is to build on the success story of this show by making smart moves in terms of scheduling and sourcing quality content from production houses.

The channel needs to build on the strong base created by the show and draw an intelligent line up of other properties leading up to and following this show.

Interestingly, SAB TV needs to merely copy the success of its sister channel Sony, which has played around with the repeats of its best performing property, CID, to take a big jump from 80 GRPs a year ago to 180 GRPs this year.

Jha adds, "As a channel, SAB TV has the potential to go a long way and this success will undoubtedly be a function of putting up some good quality content. The channel cannot sustain for long on the success of one show. It's competing in the GEC space, where other channels are catering to a wider audience base by lining up an array of offering."

Jha stresses that as such, SAB TV does not have a wide array of properties to attract a wider section of the audience - such as Entertainment Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega on its sister channel Sony or India's Got Talent on Colors. These and other shows packed with drama and emotions have something or the other to offer to every age group.

A look at the TAM statistics for viewership split for SAB TV'S leading show, Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, reinforces this point. In 2010, about 33.4 per cent of the viewers of the show were from the age group of 35+. Another 32.4 per cent comprised viewers in the age group of 4-14 years; whereas 18.8 per cent and 15.3 per cent of the rest of the viewership for the show comes from the age group of 15-24 years and 25-34 years, respectively.

According to media planners, to take its success to the next level, SAB TV needs to come up with more broad based content by putting up more high performing properties.

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