If there is one thing that Zee has decided to do in right earnest this year, it is to be different. First it was Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai, and then it was online lottery in the form of Playwin. The latest offering this summer is a comedy show, aptly named Kitne Kool Hain Hum (KKHH). The show, which debuted on Monday, March 15, will run Mondays to Thursdays at 8.00 pm. Another programme, Khelo Number Khelo, a game show hosted by Archana Puran Singh in the 9.00 pm to 9.30 pm slot, Thursdays, went on air starting April 11.
This strategy of being different seems to be working. The channel has gained steadily in the recent past in terms of audience share. For example, in the week February 24 to March 2, the audience share of Zee (in the crucial cable and satellite audience segment in the 15 to 44 age group in SEC ABC categories in Hindi-speaking markets) stood at 4.97 per cent. By end March, that is, for the week March 23 to March 30, Zee's audience share went up to 5.95 per cent.
Of course, the channel is still way behind market leader STAR Plus, which, for the same period, went up from a channel share of 17.97 per cent to 18.95 per cent. Yet, after a sobering period, when its new shows floundered, Zee is definitely looking up. Describing its current phase of growth, Partha Pratim Sinha, director, marketing, Zee Television India, says, "In a creative product, there is no time tested formula to succeed. You can be equally foolish or equally wise. Our shows are very different, and give the viewer tremendous choice."
For Zee Network, which tried to reach the top by launching 100 programmes at one go last year, the new phase is as well orchestrated as it is crucial. Industry analysts point out that this time around, by going in for a different programming strategy, the channel is also moving cautiously with a keen eye on the quality of programming. It has roped in the best producers in the industry. JIKNH is produced by NDTV, and Ekta Kapoor, who also produced the enormously popular Hum Paanch on Zee TV earlier, produces the new comedy show KKHH, which is loosely based on the popular English comedy, Beverly Hillbillies, the story of a rural American family that tries to adjust to life in the city.
KKHH is about the Chapanarias, a Gujarati family from Dhanduka village that moves to Mumbai, like countless others who come to this bustling city in search of fame and fortune. The only difference is that this particular family already has a lot of money to spare, courtesy a kindly uncle who dies leaving his enormous fortune to the Chapanarias.
However, the serial will come against the wall of failure of good comedy on Indian television. One of the more popular comedies on air currently is Office, Office on SABe TV, which revolves around the travails of a common man subjected to the tyranny of the Indian bureaucracy. Debuting as a once-in-a-week show in September 2001, the show became thrice weekly, but has not gone very high up on the TV charts. On the other hand, profusely melodramatic serials have consistently done well.
Yet, it is obvious, Zee has taken a conscious decision to keep away from the melodrama genre in its latest bout of programming. "In that, STAR Plus already has a key advantage. It will be very difficult to change that, even with consistently good programming. On the other hand, the new comedy show will be different. And pitted against one-offs like Office Office, Zee will benefit from the dearth of good comedy on TV," says a senior media planner.
While Zee has been able to make some headway with its new programming, none of the new shows have been able to hit the earlier high of 6 TVR. Paradoxically, the biggest show on Zee in recent times was the Hindi feature film Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (HDDCS), which was aired on Saturday, March 30 at 8.00 pm, and reached a TVR of 2.45. While the new shows of Zee are yet to make it to the Top 100, HDDCS came in at 79 among the Top 100 shows for that week.
Even with its diverse programming, the channel still has a tough fight ahead to overcome the hurdles on the way to the top. © 2002 agencyfaqs!