Zee Cafe looks at brighter future with Grey

By Raushni Bhagia , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | April 19, 2013
After the sixth season on STAR World, the succeeding seasons of Grey's Anatomy will now be broadcast on Zee Cafe. There are mixed views on the expected performance of the show.

English GECs cater to a niche audience, who are familiar with the popular international content on offer across all channels. Often, the shows have an existing fan-following and channels try to cash in on this by acquiring shows that have already achieved stickiness.

Star World

However, since the content is acquired from international production houses, no single channel has exclusive ownership of all seasons of any show. So, while one can see American Idol, currently, on Big CBS Love, audiences have watched the show on STAR World, earlier. Similarly, different seasons of How I met your Mother were available on Zee Cafe and STAR World at different points in time.

In line with the continuing trend, the latest seasons of Grey's Anatomy (Seasons 7, 8 and9), a medical drama set in an American hospital, will now be telecast on Zee Cafe (from May). It may be recalled that the show's sixth season came to an end on STAR World about a month-and-a-half ago. While Zee Cafe has already telecast Season 7 and Season 8 earlier, Season 9 is still being broadcast in the US.

Zee Cafe

The show was telecast at the 10 pm slot on STAR World and interestingly, the upcoming seasons of the show will be launched on the same time band. Currently, STAR World airs One Tree Hill on the same time slot.

Media planners and buyers expect that the show will be received well by the audience; a section of the community feels that a lot will depend on the marketing and promotions of the series.

Greys Anatomy

Greys Anatomy

Suresh Balakrishna

Suresh Balakrishnan, CEO, BPN, says, "Grey's Anatomy is surely more popular than One Tree Hill or any other show on that slot. It has more loyal viewers. Moreover, STAR World itself created the 10 pm slot for Grey's Anatomy; and wisely enough, Zee Cafe has planned to launch the new seasons on the same slot."

The time lag between the telecast of a particular season of a show in the US and its telecast in India is wide and the audiences may have caught up with the latest season online. According to the planners and buyers, this shouldn't have much effect on the upcoming season, since this was happening for all the earlier seasons as well, and the show has achieved a fan following despite this time lag.

Balakrishnan justifies, "These shows have a good repeat value."

Priti Murthy, director, Insights, Carat Media, seconds this and adds that there is a community that religiously follows the series. "The show is being watched online too, even if not on YouTube. Historically, it happened with The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother too."

However, a media planner who doesn't want to be named says, "The show had become symbolic to STAR World, just like Packed To The Rafters. Zee will have to manage and strategise the promotions very well to delete the existing 'channel-content' connection that STAR World had successfully created in the viewers' minds."

He adds that Zee Cafe would need to market the show aggressively to ensure the show lives up to its potential and their expectations from it.

Meanwhile, while comparing the performance of the show on STAR World and Zee Cafe, media experts point out that STAR World tends to be more aggressive in marketing and promotions of its properties within the genre.

Balakrishnan seconds this thought and opines, "If the channel is able to reach out to the viewers and communicate, I am sure people will tune in for the content, if not for the channel."

On the 10 pm slot, apart from Star World's One Tree Hill, Grey's Anatomy (Zee Cafe) will compete with CSI and America's Got Talent on Big CBS Prime, Beauty and The Beast on Big CBS Love, Teen World on AXN and Whitney on Comedy Central. All these shows strive for the same set of eyeballs (C&S, 25+).

It remains to be seen if Zee Cafe has a brighter future with Dr Grey.

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