While mythology was considered best suited for Sunday morning, Life OK's Devon Ke Dev Mahadev was the first one to create hope for the evening time band in the genre. Recently, Colors has announced the launch of its mythological series, Jai Jag Janani Maa Durga in the 7 pm slot, replacing its daily soap, Kairi Rishta Khatta Meetha.
The show, produced by Sagar Pictures, the makers of Ramayan, Alif Laila and Shri Krishna, will showcase the avatars of goddess Durga in the various stages of her life.
The scheduling benefit
Is the channel running the show too early in the evening?
"Keeping the Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities in mind, the 7 pm slot is perfect," responds Divya Radhakrishnan, managing director, Helios Media.
Ashwini Kamath, general manager, Mediacom, Mumbai, seconds this and adds that 7 pm could be too early for the metros but in smaller towns, people tune into television as early as 6:30 pm.
It may be noted that some of the top rated shows have been featured on the early evening prime time slots, like Saathiya on Star Plus, which occupies the 6:30 pm band and Sasural Simar Ka on Colors at the 7:30 pm band.
Radhakrishnan adds that with this, the channel could be trying to build up the evening prime time series, with Sasural Simar Ka at 7:30 pm and BalikaVadhu at 8 pm. If the mythological property does well, it will be a chance for the channel to build up its audience base, starting 7 pm.
Vidhu Sagar, executive vice-president, Carat Media India opines that it has always been difficult to stretch the prime-time band in either direction: "We must note that the early prime time slots, that is, pre-8 pm, haven't been doing as well as the prime time. It is not easy to bring the traction to this time band."
Boon or bane?
The show is slated to be launched on a time slot that is just an hour before the telecast of Life OK's mythological property, Devon Ke Dev Mahadev, at 8 pm.
Marketers strongly believe that Colors, despite being one of the top Hindi GECs, has not had a mythological show in its portfolio of late and this addition to the bouquet may be good for the channel. Also, some believe that Mahadev could actually drive the popularity of the new show, Durga and Shiva being deeply connected in Indian mythology.
Others say that the competition may even pull the viewership down due to the loyalty that Mahadev has garnered since its launch.
However, industry observers unanimously agree that one has to wait and watch the treatment given to the show. Sagar of Carat explains, "It is quite possible that the new show is well scripted and the production quality could be at par with that of Mahadev."
Radhakrishnan adds that inclusion of the new genre in the portfolio should help the channel to stand as a complete packaged GEC.
Kamath of Mediacom adds, "There are chances that both Mahadev and Durga are able to create their separate sets of viewers and not eat into each other's space. Mahadev excels not because of its genre but because of its storytelling. So may the new show."
The fatigue factor
Could this be a case of too much of a good thing - could two daily mythologicals lead to an overdose for viewers?
Citing the example of family fiction soaps, Radhakrishnan says that such serials are the best examples of a genre not entering into the fatigue zone, and adds that the experience of the mythological genre could be similar.
Giving the advertisers' perspective, media experts say that a genre or time band really doesn't decide on the rates, premiums or preferences of the money spenders. The only thing that can define the earnings is viewership figures, which can only be told after the show hits the ground.