Ekta Kapoor's Balaji Telefilms has decided to bet on popular faces. After relaunching Saakshi Tanwar and Ram Kapoor with Bade Achhe Lagte Hain on Sony, the television content producer has now brought Sameer Soni in its new fiction Parichay, that went on air last night on Colors.
Bade Achhe Lagte Hain opened with a TVR of 1.3, and steadily grew to a 2.4 TVR in its fourth week on TV, and now, as per the latest ratings for the week ended July 23 (TAM, C&S 4+, HSM), the TVR for the show stands at 3.4 TVR.
So, does this mean that eventually only popular faces on television will be able to hold the audiences together?
When it comes to collecting a loyal audience set for a new show, the prime objective for a channel is to "keep that sample going". And therefore, many affirm that getting known faces on board not only helps in generating a bigger buzz for the show, but also creates better sampling for the property.
Sejal Shah, vice-president, West and South, IME, says, "The initial sampling for a show is always an issue and a high risk factor for broadcasters. When television actors as big as Ram Kapoor or Sameer Soni come on board, the audience expectations are much higher. Therefore, the initial build up for the show is much faster as compared to properties which exhibit lesser known or newer faces."
"And since the audience already expects that such names will do something better than the rest, they continue to stick to their shows for a longer time period," she elaborates.
Balakrishna, vice-president at Allied Media Network, however, believes that the strategy of using well-known faces for television shows works well with reality content. "While channels can initially promote celebrity faces as a marketing strategy, the stickiness of a fiction will finally depend on the content and its storyline."
Agrees Santosh Nair, chief executive officer, UTV Television, "While known faces bring in a recall value for the property, at the end of the day, the content has to function. Otherwise, despite the added credibility of the yesteryear stars to give that push to the show, the property will fall flat on its face," he says.
Many television content producers also believe that it's not the popular faces, but the characterisation that creates the recall value amongst audiences. "People still remember Saakshi Tanwar as Parvati from Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii and Shweta Tiwari as Prerna from Kasautii Zindagii Kay. So, it's the characterisation that makes that actor a superstar," opines Moti Sagar, producer, Sagar Pictures.