Alokananda Chakraborty

JIKNH brings in new viewers for Zee

Three weeks into the launch, Zee TV’s Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai has taken a sizeable chunk of the audience share in the 9.00 pm to 10.00 pm prime time slot on Fridays

Zee just wants to be different. In pursuit of its new strategy of being diverse, on 22 March, 2002, Zee TV introduced its celebrity-based Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai (JIKNH) in the prime time slot of Fridays, 9.00 pm to 10.00 pm.

Three weeks into the launch, JIKNH seems to have taken a sizeable chunk of the audience share in the prime time slot of Fridays, 9.00 pm to 10.00 pm. According to relative channel shares, in the Hindi-speaking markets, STAR Plus was the clear leader, with over 25 per cent of the total market share among C&S audiences in the four-years-plus age group. Zee had a little over 5 per cent of the total market share, that is, roughly, a fifth of the share of market leader STAR Plus. These figures are an average for the four weeks ending 16 March, 2002, and were before the launch of JIKNH.

One interesting factor is that most of the audiences are from SEC A. For example, in Mumbai, the average rating for cable & satellite viewers in the four-years-plus age group is 3.46 while that for the SEC A segment alone it is higher at 5.97. These figures become more relevant when one takes into account that in Mumbai, SEC A includes only 17 per cent of total C&S audiences while SEC D/E individuals make up 30 per cent or more. In this category, the programme has low ratings (2.6) for all C&S audiences, in the age group four-years-plus for the city of Mumbai. Almost all Hindi-speaking markets have shown similar trends.

For Zee, however, JIKNH brings good news. The show is already among the Top 5 shows on Zee. According to ORG-Marg's INTAM report, among cable and satellite audiences in the four-years-plus age group, the TVR of JIKNH was 1.6 for the week March 18 to March 24, 2002. In comparison, Amanat, the top show on Zee, has a TVR rating of 2.0. And according to TAM, among C&S audiences in the four-years-plus age group for the week (March 18, 2002 to March 23, 2002), the show again had a TVR of 1.6 and was ranked 67 in the Top 100 shows on C&S television.

For all practical purposes, Zee is betting its shirt on JIKNH. The channel has pitted its new show against the strongest shows of Sony - Kkusum (Fridays, 9.00 pm to 9.30 pm) and veteran Heena (Fridays, 9.30 to 10 pm). Zee, in fact, shifted two shows - Choti Maa…Ek Anokha Bandhan (9.00 pm to 9.30 pm) and Kohi Apna Saa (9.30 pm to 10.00 pm) - to fit in the new show. Main rival STAR Plus has Khulja Sim Sim (9.00 pm to 10.00 pm) in this slot.

As a celebrity show, JIKNH is quite unique in that it introduces celebrities through their close friends. For example, in the episode aired on April 5, 2002, at 9:00 pm, JIKNH profiled one of Bollywood's most loved stars, Sanjay Dutt. Close friends and his schoolteacher reminisced about his younger days, while his sister remembered how Dutt, who was incarcerated under the TADA after the Mumbai blasts of 1993, saved up his prison coupons to give her a gift on rakhi when she met him in prison.

But while Shah Rukh Khan or Sanjay Dutt or Aishwarya Rai are sure to bring in audiences, it remains to be seen whether the format of JIKNH alone can bring in viewers, when less popular stars or celebrities are on the show. And whether their legions of fans from the poorer sections want to know their heroes and heroines much more closely, or prefer their on-screen persona to their real-life one.

Yet, it is the kind of show that audiences love, since it shows celebrities as human. In fact, the idea of seeing the other side of the stars seems to have caught on. In the key market of Mumbai, Zee's reach rose by more than 100 per cent to 1.7 million viewers in the first week of launch from an estimated 750,000 viewers in the week preceding the launch. Overall, in the Hindi-speaking markets (defined as Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta, Kanpur, Maharashtra minus Mumbai, Uttar Pradesh minus Kanpur, and Ludhiana) the reach has gone up by 80 per cent, according to TAM figures for the launch week, March 16 to 23. Kolkata has shown a significant rise from 96,000 viewers before the show debuted (TAM figures for March 9 to March 16) to half a million viewers - a rise of 450 per cent.

Among the other significant gainers are Maharashtra (except Mumbai), which increased by 157 per cent, and Kanpur, which shot up by 158 per cent. What is more interesting is that viewers actually increased their television viewing time for the programme. Thus, comparative data from TAM for two weeks - March 9 to March 16, the week before the programme was launched, and March 16 to March 23, the launch week - shows that while the channel's share went up, the total amount of time spent by the viewers also increased. In effect, more people tried out the programme (high reach) and they also spent more time on that time slot.

For any programme launch, say analysts, the key deciding factors are reach and time spent. Ratings, a constituent of these two factors, builds up across a number of episodes as the stickiness (time spent) of the audiences to the programme increases. And it is here that the programme will face a challenge. "The very nature of the programme makes it more like a movie than a serial. Viewers will decide to watch or not depending on who is on the show," points out an industry analyst. Adds a senior media planner based in Delhi, "The pool of celebrities with mass appeal is quite small, and once they run out, the show will face a challenge."

But Zee is upbeat. Says Partha Pratim Sinha, director, marketing, Zee Telefilms, "The show is a 52-episode one, and I am sure that there are more than 52 interesting people in India," he quips.

How JIKNH stacks up in the programming order will no doubt be clear as the initial euphoria dies down. © 2002 agencyfaqs!

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