Ormax Media has conducted an independent consumer study on general entertainment channels and the loyalty they enjoy. The study was conducted among 1,600 females, who are regular to heavy watchers of prime-time fiction programmes on Hindi GECs. These viewers are in the age group of 15-44 years, belonging to SEC A, B, C, in six markets, namely Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Indore and Jalandhar.
The study categorises the female viewers -- who watch fiction shows during prime time on Hindi GECs -- into definitive viewing clusters, based on their viewership basket. The four clusters are STAR Plus loyalists, Zee TV loyalists, Colors loyalists and variety seekers. According to the findings of the study, among all the channels, STAR Plus has the largest set of loyal viewers, followed by Zee TV.
Zee has a 22 per cent share of loyalists; while Colors has 19 per cent. The variety seekers cluster commands a high 28 per cent share. These are viewers who are not loyal to any particular channel, and prefer to watch programmes across channels.
The study also divides each programme's viewership into two components -- one that is driven by loyalty to the channel; and the other driven by loyalty to the content. Thus, channel-driven programmes are those where 50 per cent or more viewership is due to channel loyalty; while content driven are those where 50 per cent or more viewership accrues because of content, despite loyalty being towards another channel. A programme that is driven by content has higher ability to pull viewership from non-loyalists.
Shailesh Kapoor, CEO, Ormax Media, says, "The loyal segment is important for a channel, as it offers an edge when it comes to launching new programmes, or when reviving a programme that may have fallen during its course. This study has thrown some fascinating ways of evaluating a programme's long-term brand strength, beyond its ratings."
Shows on STAR Plus, such as Bidaai and Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai, are heavily dependent on their loyal viewer base for viewership; whereas Balika Vadhu on Colors and Pavitra Rishta on Zee TV attract viewership even outside of their loyal audiences.
Among other shows, Tere Liye and Behenein on STAR Plus; Na Aana Is Des Laado and Bairi Piya on Colors; and Jhansi Ki Rani and Chhoti Bahu on Zee TV are channel-driven programmes. On the other hand, Pratigya and Sasuraal Genda Phool on STAR Plus are content driven. Zee TV has fewer shows in the latter category.
"Programmes that manage to strike a good balance of both components (Balika Vadhu, Pratigya or Pavitra Rishta) are stronger long-term brands, compared to those heavily dependent on their loyal base. It is far easier for the first type to bounce back, like Balika Vadhu has done several times over the last year," Kapoor observes. He cites the example of STAR Plus, which went through a rough patch after losing its loyal audience mid last year.
The advantage of having channel-driven programmes is that the loyal set of viewers will stay with the channel, even if a few unsuccessful programmes are launched. But a channel cannot depend on the channel loyalists for growth.
Smaller channels, such as SAB TV and Imagine, do not have a loyal set of viewers. Thus, they fight for viewership from variety seekers, who are channel agnostic. An example is Tarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma, which is driven by the variety seekers. Kapoor, however, believes that SAB has the potential to have a strong loyalists' base.
There are more variety seekers in markets such as Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad, than in smaller towns. This set of audience is has a different mindset and is culturally different from the other audiences.