At the same time, Star Plus telecast the repeat of STAR Parivaar Awards, which garnered about 1.2 TVR for the same time slot (22:30 to 23:30), compared to 0.8 TVR that the channel otherwise clocks on the slot on Saturdays. The show, which ran for three hours, was first telecast on March 24.
The other ratings for the genre have remained more or less the same. The overall slot GRPs for the genre has also increased in the current week (Week 26). The average GRP in Weeks 22-25 for the Hindi general entertainment channel (GEC) genre was about 16 GRPs, against current week's 21 GRPs.
Earlier this year, Sahara One, too, came out with an hour-long horror time band. The two shows, Haunted Nights and Yeh Kali Kali Raatein, were launched at the 22:00 band. The two shows, however, did not fare well for long and the average opening TVR of 0.6 helped the channel cross the 50-GRP mark.
Zee has come back with a horror show after a long time. The show was extensively promoted on the network's channels as well as through a distinctive outdoor promotional campaign across 12 cities. The cumulative reach of the show was recorded as 9.2 per cent in the first episode. Earlier, the channel achieved about 6.5 per cent reach in the same time slot.
Meanwhile, Sony has retained its ratings for the same slot, which telecasts its flagship properties, CID and Crime Patrol. The channel continues to garner 7 GRPs for the same time slot on Saturday evenings.
Life Ok and SAB, too, have maintained their slot GRPs at 1.
Though media experts express their doubts on the sustenance of Fear Files, they also believe that Zee has definitely got a grip over the audiences and that the promotions of the show were also up to the mark. Apparently, horror works well, generally because of the shock value and suspense factor.
Sources add that the overall GRPs of the genre have seen a drop since last year. Earlier, where the top channel in the flock garnered about 350 plus GRPs in its kitty, now the figure has dropped to about 250 GRPs.
Avinash Pillai, national buying director, Mediacom agrees that the show has the exact spark of 'my neighbourhood stories' and hence, he believes that the show may do well. He adds, "Horror never had a women-bent or family audience. It has obviously attracted male audiences, both newer ones and the older ones from other genres. The channel had also marketed the property very well with the best possible media. It even used its flagship property, DID L'il Masters, to take the show to all strata of the society and let the audience pick it up, which obviously the male audience must have picked."
Marketers also believe that it is now an obvious fact that fiction alone can't drive a channel as non-fiction can. The importance of the horror genre was taken over by the saas-bahu sagas a few years ago.
While many marketers believe that Zee has pulled the horror genre well, Pratik Rathod, senior investment director, Mumbai, Maxus, says that this is not wholly horror genre. It has a reality factor to it and that is what makes it more unique and newer concept.
He avers, "Original content always has an upper hand and this show, just like Crime Patrol and Savdhaan India, is showcasing real content. Apart from this, the placement of the show has also helped in pocketing higher viewership. The show is hence enjoying rub-off of DID L'il Masters. Also, the creatives of the show and the media placement are done really well. The creatives really add the curiosity factor to the story line."
He cites the example of Crime Patrol, saying that we obviously know each and every case that is shown on that show, because we have read it in the news. But still, it does attract a good number of loyal viewers. Likewise, Fear Files is adding pictures to the stories that we have heard otherwise.
In addition to this, as per the market figures, the average channel share for the last five weeks (21-25) for the top six GECs (Star Plus, Colors, Zee TV, Sony, Sab TV and Life OK) was 46 per cent, which has increased to 55 per cent in the current week (Week 26).
Also, Zee clearly leads in the viewership of the channels for the time slot (22:30 to 23:30) with 19.4 lakh viewers (with Fear Files), against other channels including Sony with 17.6 lakh viewers (CID + Crime Patrol), Colors with 12.6 lakh audiences (Jhalakk...) and Star Plus with 8 lakh viewers (with Star Parivaar Awards).
Amol Mohandas, vice-president, Allied Media, explains that TV viewing too has a cycle. Horror has been a substantial genre on Hindi GECs. "Absence of good quality horror for about 4-5 years at a stretch has definitely increased that craving for the genre among the audience. This seems to be a better contributor in the overall GRPs of the channel, in the near future."
He also adds that the show definitely has some capability as it was able to contribute 4 per cent, out of the total 9 per cent increase in the Hindi GEC share in the current week.
Mentioning that the channel has got a unique kind of show on the platter, he adds, "The logic is simple, new customers for new product and new product to grab newer customers (viewers)."
For the record, Zee Horror Show was the first horror programme to be telecast on television in 1993 and was hosted by Zee TV. The show was produced by Ramsay Brothers.