afaqs!

Sony's fiction stunt, a week ahead of IPL

By Raushni Bhagia , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | March 21, 2013
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Despite lacklustre TAM numbers, new launches, even parallel to the IPL, show a daring approach even at a tricky time.

Sony Entertainment Television's fiction hierarchy has looked a little shaky lately. A peep into the last four weeks' data (TAM, C&S, 4+, HSM) reveals that the channel's prime time fiction shows have been steadily losing viewers. Meanwhile, MSM is also gearing up to launch its cash-rich Indian Premiere League on April 3, which is expected to bite into GEC content, including that of Sony.

Chhanchhan

Undaunted, Sony has decided to launch its second fiction, 'Chhanchhan', on March 25, merely a week ahead of the IPL, to feed its 9 pm slot. It also launched Khoobsurat, another new fiction, at the 7.30 pm slot on February 25, the TVR score of which recorded a meek 1 TVR.

Produced by Optimystix Entertainment, Chhanchhan will replace Hongey Juda Na Hum (a six-month old property), which is being axed.

Do Sony's pre-IPL fiction investments defy market logic?

The channel's sources argue that IPL and Chhanchhan cater to completely different target groups. Sneha Rajani, senior associate vice-president and business head, Sony Entertainment, says, "The two cater to different audience-sets. We understand that IPL too is a family entertainment content, but Chhanchhan has a more female skew."

Sneha Rajani

Gaurav Seth

She adds that the content is strong and that the channel is confident that the female protagonist, a modern and liberal girl, will resonate well with the audience.

"Sampling does wonders for fiction series," exclaims a media planner. Further, he suggests that all fiction shows (read plots) are made in the same mould and the only thing that attracts stickiness and builds fan following for any show is the sampling, mostly in the first few weeks of the show.

Media planners note that Sony's character-based shows like Kkusum and Heena have done well in the past. Some experts also reason that the channel could have felt the urgency to launch a fresh show in the light of the gradually decreasing numbers.

It may also be noted that since the past two years, the drop in GEC viewership share during the IPL has not been significant, and there is no reason for GECs to shy away from innovations and launches during the IPL.

It is pertinent to note here that even if the viewership figures for the IPL have been marginally decreasing, the popularity and buzz around the tournament are very high. The property still garners high TVRs, high concentration and even the absolute reach of the event has increased.

"Sony can also exploit the IPL to promote the new offering," says a media planner.

Chhanchhan is being heavily promoted on outdoor and television platforms. While outdoor campaigns have been launched in seven-eight cities, a few more will be covered gradually. About 3,000 television spots have been marked for the launch promos, of which 1,700 spots are in the MSM network, informs Gaurav Seth, head, marketing, Sony. Seth adds that the marketing spends on the show are a little higher compared to regular spends on similar shows, which sources reveal are in the range of one crore rupees.

Sony's dare to the IPL will be closely watched by the industry. "If it does (succeed), it might change the perception towards IPL and viewership patterns," states a media planner.

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