Will Karishma's magic work for Sahara?

By , agencyfaqs! | In | August 20, 2003
The blockbuster epic on television will finally see the light of the day on August 25 at 9.30 pm

At a star-studded press conference in a premium hotel in Mumbai this week, officials of the Subrata-Roy promoted Sahara India Pariwar, which has the general entertainment channel Sahara Manoranjan under its belt, announced with much fanfare that Karishma - The Miracles of Destiny was coming back with a bang in a few days from now. The date: August 25. The time: 9.30 pm, prime time.

For a show enmeshed in one of the stickiest legal battles involving charges of copyright infringement, the verdict pronounced by the Supreme Court earlier this month was indeed a breather. Now that the legal tangles are behind it, what is the destiny of the most expensive show on television? Will it attain the heightened status that its creators set out to achieve?

Sushanto Roy, son of promoter Subrata Roy, and CEO, Sahara Media & Entertainment, would like to believe so. "We are going by a well thought-out strategy," he says. "Filmstars on TV is a niche, a slot that we have created, and I am sure it will help us rise and grow. This strategy should catapult Sahara into the big league."

Filmstars on TV is the formula Sahara is banking on to woo audiences to the channel, which, as analysts maintain, is considered as a "poor man's STAR".

Apart from Karishma - The Miracles of Destiny, Sridevi-starrer Hamari Bahu Malini Iyer is slated for launch in October this year. Two more mega projects featuring Amitabh Bachchan and Raveena Tandon are in the pipeline. Bachchan's project is yet to be finalised while Tandon will feature as the "Chhoti Bahu" in the TV version of "Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam", set to hit the floor in a month and a half.

The channel, of course, is leaving no stone unturned to promote its prized properties. A mix of 30 activities spanning mainline and below-the-line will be unveiled around Karishma. Outdoor, as channel officials maintain, is being used in a big way to promote the show. "We are creating contests especially on the net," elaborates a senior manager. "Our attempt is to get under people's skin, and, on the day of the launch the skies of at least 13 to 14 cities in the country will be illuminated with fireworks."

Apart from all this, the channel will take up branding activities by screening the serial in select theatres across the country through "mini matinee shows" targeting its core target group of women. Roy adds, "We are also tying up with shopping malls. However, our aim is to cater not only to the audience in the metros but also influence viewers in the small towns."

Despite such assertions, the TVR of the first episode telecast on May 12 convinces a number of analysts that the "hype should be viewed with some amount of caution".
The episode attracted an all-India TVR of 0.54 on the day of telecast. The metros of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore attracted figures of 2.59, 0.54, 0.18, 0.01 and 0.05.

In the Hindi heartland, towns with a population between 0.1 to1 million in Uttar Pradesh attracted a TVR of 0.01, while towns above 1 million had a slightly higher figure of 0.25. In the combined markets of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh too the figures were no different. For towns with a population above 1 million and between 0.1 to 1 million, TVR figures were 0.07 and 0.35 respectively while 1 million plus towns in Madhya Pradesh saw a TVR of 0.12. (Source: TAM Media Research; base population: C&S 4-plus).

Nonetheless, a ray of hope still remains among media planners and buyers. "Karishma may take a while to create the kind of impact that KBC did during its heydays," says a media planner based in Mumbai. "To put it in the league of KBC at the very outset would be slightly presumptuous because KBC itself was unforeseen for STAR. The channel did not plan it. The gameshow simply worked with the audience."

Whether Karishma - The Miracles of Destiny casts a similar spell on the average TV viewer, only time will tell. © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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