Sangeeta Tanwar

Optimistic STAR Plus hopes to reclaim its 10:30 pm leadership slot

The new show, Pratigya will be competing against Na Aana is Des Laado on Colors and Yahan Main Ghar Ghar Kheli on Zee TV

STAR Plus is busy putting together two big shows. Its fiction offering, Pratigya will go on-air today, (December 07); followed by the music reality show, Music Ka Mahamuqabla, expected to be rolled out later this month.

The general entertainment channel is relying on Pratigya to reclaim and reassert its supremacy in the 10:30 pm slot. STAR Plus ruled this slot for years with its most successful and long-running show, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi.

Optimistic STAR Plus hopes to reclaim its 10:30 pm leadership slot
Speaking to afaqs!, at the sidelines of the launch of the show, Gaurav Banerjee, head, content strategy, programming, STAR Plus, says, "The reality show, Perfect Bride, is nearing its finale, with a lot of excitement around it. It will be pushed to 11 pm, making way for Pratigya at 10:30 pm. The idea is to use a well-received and established time band to launch a property with a powerful and different storyline."

Banerjee's optimism stems from the fact that as per the TAM data, Perfect Bride has been consistently delivering TVR of more than 2.

Pratigya is the story of an ordinary, small-town girl, who fights against eve-teasing and other forms of disrespect and injustice towards women.

The show is targeted at audiences in the small town, as the channel believes that the theme of the serial resonates more with northern India. And thus, the show would appeal to audiences in places such as Allahabad, Kanpur, Ujjain and Nasik.

At 10:30 pm, the show will compete with Na Aana is Des Laado on Colors and Rajshri Productions' newly launched show, Yahan Main Ghar Ghar Kheli on Zee TV. As per TAM data Week 48 (C&S, HSM), Colors is leading in this slot, with Na Aana is Des Laado delivering a TVR of 5.2.

On the other hand, the to-be-concluded show, Perfect Bride will be pitted against Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo on Zee TV; the repeat of Balika Vadhu on Colors and Palkon Ki Chaaon Mein on NDTV Imagine.

Optimistic STAR Plus hopes to reclaim its 10:30 pm leadership slot
Optimistic STAR Plus hopes to reclaim its 10:30 pm leadership slot
Commenting on STAR Plus' strategy and the show's prospects, Hema Malik, general manager, Lodestar UM, says, "Traditionally, the 10:30 pm time band has been ideal for fiction shows across GECs, with a few exceptions. The channel has nothing to lose by shifting Perfect Bride, which is in its final stages, to 11 pm; as it does not stand the risk of losing loyal viewership that the show commands. Viewers hooked to the show will continue following the excitement at later hours as well. With winter setting in, it's better to catch the audience in the North, before they move on to other things."

Malik asserts that STAR has competition from Colors, not only at 10:30 pm; but all through 8 pm to 11 pm, as the channel is strong and performing well in this time band.

However Chirantan Chandran, general manager, Mindshare, points out, "Normally, in case of any reality show, it starts with a bang (mainly due to heavy promotional activity), then loses the way in-between, and again makes a comeback to conclude on a higher note, with winner announcements. In case of Perfect Bride, it failed to follow the trend. It started with 2 ratings and maintained, on an average, 1.7 to 2 ratings."

Chandran explains, "STAR Plus has not been able to provide twists in between to create curiosity. Keeping in mind the current trend and ratings delivered by Perfect Bride, it might not be able to generate a good, expected rating in the last few episodes. This could be one reason why STAR Plus does not mind shifting it from the existing time band."

According to Chandran, STAR Plus has failed to crack the reality show format in the recent past (except Sach Ka Samna); whereas Zee TV, using Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, has successfully managed this over the years (though the show didn't meet expectations in the last two series). He adds that newly launched channels, Colors and NDTV Imagine, have built up their viewership on the back of reality shows.

As per last two months' TAM data (4+, C&S, HSM, 9 pm - 11 pm), most fictions on the top five Hindi GECs have delivered 48 per cent more than reality shows (TVR of 2.3 vs 1.5, respectively). In the case of STAR Plus, that gap is even wider (2.9 vs 1.5 TVR).

In the 10:30 pm time band, currently, all the other GECs are banking upon fiction; whereas STAR Plus has a reality show. So, it might be an interesting strategy to attract serial watchers from other channels to STAR Plus by launching Pratigya.

A new serial on STAR Plus starts with 1 to 1.5 rating (in case of Mitwa Phool Kamal Ke) and based on the content, retains 2 to 2.5 ratings. Therefore, for STAR Plus, it will be a balancing act by putting Pratigya at 10:30 pm - it will not lose or gain anything in the short term. In the long term, however, the channel may be able to build up a good time band in their prime time slots (subject to popularity of the content).

Banerjee informs that the music reality show - Music Ka Mahamuqabla - will be another large-scale show on the channel. STAR Plus is labelling the show as a clash of titans, with singers including Himesh Reshammiya, Mika Singh, Mohit Chauhan, Shaan and Shankar Mahadevan competing against each other. Each singer will captain a team of three singers, who are products of the singing talent hunt show, Amul STAR Voice of India. Also, through nation-wide auditions, STAR Plus is hunting for ordinary people exhibiting extraordinary singing talent to be part of these teams.

The GEC is confident of drawing in crowds for the show, which is being produced by Gajendra Singh of Sai Baba Telefilms. Singh was also the producer of Amul STAR Voice of India on the channel.

Will STAR Plus succeed in striking magic with Music Ka Mahamuqabla? A senior media planner from the industry comments, "Music and dance based reality shows make for a safe bet, as the genre commands a high level of interest across geographies. The show and its format appear promising. Big celebrity names and diverse singers that STAR Plus has got on-board will ensure lot of competitive spirit, adding spice to the show. The product looks good and the platform too is strong. The success of the show entirely depends on how the project will be executed, and whether producers manage to hold viewers' interest with twists and turns in the show."

However, industry observers reiterate that though the reality shows promise higher deliverables than fiction in general; all reality shows in themselves cannot be taken to be a sure-shot way to delivering a hit. A case in point is Dance Premier League on Sony, which has failed to live up to its promise.

Malik of Lodestar UM feels that Music Ka Mahamuqabla will be a different ball game altogether. She points out, "The show is a departure from the studio-based reality show. It will be played out in an open auditorium with large crowds, thus upping the excitement and energy quotient. Also, the talent hunt search is only a small part of the show; the real fight is between the titans of music. This time, the channel has done away with dependence on audience voting. Instead, the fate of the teams will be decided on the basis of crowds sitting in the auditorium."

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