With the debut on STAR Plus of Kyun Hota Hai Pyarrr, a serial directed by Neena Gupta, on Thursday, August 1, the fight in the 8.00 pm to 9.00 pm slot has become tougher.
More shows are expected to debut in this slot from the two staunch rivals of STAR, as this has become the battleground of choice. Among the major contenders for victory are Kahin Na Kahin Koi Hai (KNKKH), Monday to Thursday, 8.30 pm, which debuted on Sony last Monday. With a strong presence in the 9.00 pm to 10.00 pm slot, where it has its strongest shows Kkusum and Kutumb, Sony is trying to extend its presence to the 8.00 to 9.00 pm slot too. The channel also has in the offing, the Balaji Telefilms-created thriller Kya Haadsa Kya Haqeeqat, on the weekends, the Mohnish Behl-hosted Bachke Rehnaa, and Kuch Kehti Hai Yeh Dhun, a musical quiz show hosted by pop star Raageshwari, all of which are expected to go on to the 8.00-pm to 9.00-pm slot this month.
What the channel is counting on is the diversity of the new programming to bring the viewers in. Says Anupama Mandloi, director, on-air programming, SET, "Bachke Rehnaa is a concept that has never before been seen on television." The channel has taken the same line with KNKKH, which too as been pushed as "never seen before".
Industry observers say a strategy has been in place at Sony for quite some time now to rule the 8.00-pm slot. First, in its bid to solidify its hold in this slot, the channel played a sure-fire success card on weekends - Hindi movies, including the all-time classics like Amar Akbar Anthony, which was shown on August 2. The whole of July saw the Saturday, 8.00-pm slot taken over by movies - Saudagar on July 6, Yaadein on July 13, Hera Pheri on July 20 July and Dil To Pagal Hai on July 27. Such programming has brought in viewers, and in the process ensured that the battle here is clearly between Sony and STAR.
"Despite such tactics, it is not going to be easy for Sony to move out of the 9.00 slot, as it still doesn't have a clear winner of a programme before or after. In fact, Sony gives the toughest challenge to STAR in the 9.00-pm to 10.00-pm slot," says a senior media planner.
On the other hand, STAR Plus also has the hugely popular Kasautii Zindagii Kay, Monday to Thursday, 8:30 pm, which will be directly challenged by KNKKH. Sony's job appears quite difficult when one considers that for C&S audiences in the 4-plus age group, for the week July 14 to July 20, Kasautii Zindagii Kay had a TVR above 8.
However, Sony has an advantage over Zee, whose line up in the 8.30 pm slot changes everyday. On Mondays, KNKKH will go against Saanjhi, on Tuesdays against Justujoo, and on Wednesdays, against Mehndi Tere Naam Ki. It is only on Thursdays that Sony has a bit of an uphill task, when it goes against the most popular offering from the Zee stable, Amanat. The Monday to Thursday schedule for Zee breaks up like this: Kitney Kool Hain Hum at 7.30, followed by serial Kammal at 8.00 pm, a different line-up of shows everyday at 8.30 pm, Love Marriage at 9.00 pm, and Kohi Apna Saa, at 9.30 pm. However, Zee has consistently maintained that the TVR figures do not reflect the real popularity of its programming.
STAR Plus is now concentrating on its flanks. A new fantasy show Shaka Laka Boom Boom, Monday to Friday, 7:30 pm, is slated for debut on August 19. A couple of other programmes, aimed to play flankers, have elicited good response. Tarun Katial, senior vice-president, programming, STAR Plus, says, "Kehta Hai Dil opened with great TVRs in spite of cricket. Our new afternoon soap Kumkum - Pyara sa Bandhan too is doing very well and the Sunday mornings have got very positive response."
Against this backdrop, will Sony be able to make the 8.00 pm to 9.00 pm slot look similar to the 9.00 to 10.00 pm line up? That is a show everyone is watching out for. © 2002 agencyfaqs!