The newly transformed youth general entertainment channel (GEC) from the STAR stable, Channel V has redefined the prime time band with the launch of its new fiction show, The Buddy Project at 6 pm. With this, the channel is set to focus on the 6 pm-8.30 pm time band as prime time for its target age group of 15-24 years.
The channel already has original programming such as its major fiction properties Humse Hai Life, Dil Dosti Dance, Gumraah, Love Kiya To Darna Kya and Suvreen Guggal in the time band of 6.30 pm to 9 pm, while post 9 pm, the channel telecasts repeats of these shows.
This is in contrast to the Hindi GECs, which have the prime time band stretched from 8 pm to 10.30 pm. Sometimes, the prime time flexibility is exploited to extend the band up to midnight.
A few GECs have also tried to tap the pre-prime time band, when Zee initially launched Chhoti Bahu at 7.30 pm. The other GECs then took a cue to launch more of original programming at 6.30 or 7 pm slots. Later, in November 2010, Zee launched other shows such as Apno Ke Liye-Geeta Ka Dharma Yudha and Bhagonwali-Baante Apni Taqdeer at the 6-7 pm band.
The channel has also reduced the music content to merely 2-3 hours a day, while being relaunched as a youth GEC.
The first fiction that was launched on the channel was Roomies in August, 2009. Kamath also mentions that the channel on an average garnered 10 GRPs in 2009, against the current GRPs of 50.
The channel's new strategy to re-conceptualise the prime time band to start as early as 6 pm aims for higher GRPs. afaqs! tries to explore the possibilities.
Market experts believe that the channel must have re-evaluated the TV viewing habits of its TG (target group).
He adds that the advertising decisions, too, are governed by the TRPs, and the content must click for the audiences to get the ratings.
Zubin Tatna of MEC says that it is more about revamping a time band for the entire television viewing, rather than redefining it for a single channel. "We can consider what Satyameva Jayate has done to the Sunday morning band. The time slot is awakened across all the channels/genres. Likewise, if the content is strong enough, the channel may be able to bring alive the 6 pm time band." He says that the channel sees not much of appointment viewing but of unique viewership.
However, Mona Jain, CEO, VivaKi Exchange emphasises that India still shows a single television household culture. "Post 8.30 pm, the television offering starts stagnating with all the Hindi GECs. I believe this should be a good idea to tap the young audience. GECs, too, have time and again tried to stretch the prime time bands on both the ends, so as to tap the pre and post prime time viewing."
Ultimately, all the media experts unanimously opine that the show must have pull and must be promoted well, so as to grab the expected audience.