Joined: 26 November 2009
Sony did fall but it wasn't steep. Against an expected 60 GRP drop, Sony fell by 40 GRPs. The market expected bit of a shock. Even the channel officials were not confident enough of sustaining robust numbers, which was quite evident in their body language, vague posturing and evasive replies to queries on the performance of shows replacing KBC as well as the channel's numbers post KBC. However, Sony has surprised the industry and its analysts with average 240 GRPs in the last eight weeks.
What has helped Sony retain its position as a strong number 2 GEC? "It has capitalised well on the gains from KBC. While most of its shows picked up during KBC, Sony also found reasonably good replacements for the game show," says group accounts director Anil Kumar of media buying agency Starcom. Both Dekha Ek Khwaab and Parvarish are delivering an average of 2 TVRs against 4.5 season average of KBC which, in Kumar's opinion, are decent numbers for new shows against older popular brands that are averaging around 4 TVR. The shortfall has been made up by contribution from Sony's strong weekend band, particularly crime shows like CID, Crime Patrol and Adaalat that have grown by 20 to 25 per cent.
Admits Sony's head of marketing Danish Khan, "A combination of content and aggressive marketing has worked for us. The post KBC drop has been offset by our weekday fiction and weekend shows." According to industry analysts, after KBC, Sony upped the ante both in content and marketing. Though they were anticipating stiff competition from other channels, it turned out to be quite sluggish. That's the reason why Colors is where it was eight weeks ago at 234 GRPs, while Zee is at 169 and Star Plus at 325(all eight-week average GRPs).
While the fall from current levels seems unlikely, industry analysts say that Sony needs to do a lot more to sustain its numbers because the competition will not give it enough room to breathe easily. Sony, on its part, seems to be geared up for challenge. Come January 30 and its prime-time will have two key changes. The popular 10 pm daily Saas Bina Sasural will be moved to 9 pm and its place will be taken by Ekta Kapoor's second fiction show for Sony, Kya Hua Tera Vaada. The idea behind gifting Kapoor the prime fertile is that both the channel and producer feel the show can be a potential star performer at 10 pm, given its theme of infidelity and absence of a clear leader in the slot. Currently, 10 pm shows like Navya, Uttaran, Saas Bina Sasural and Mrs Kaushik Ki Paanch Bahuein are averaging between 2 and 3 TVR.
Next month, Sony will launch another new show, a Hindi remake of Metti Oli at 8 pm by shifting Kuch To Log Kahenge to 11 pm, where it is a slot leader in repeat run. With that for the first time in a couple of years, Sony will have a complete line-up of fiction shows on its weekday band. "Our forthcoming shows have lot of potential and we are hoping that the refreshed weekday fiction band will contribute in our growth in 2012," says Khan. Industry analysts are of the view it is going to be a big challenge for Sony to catch up with Star Plus which is about 80 GRPs ahead. "Dramatic growth is quite unlikely. Hence the top slot is a long, long journey," says Kumar. However, he sees Sony holding on to its current GRPs or may be adding an extra 10 points.
However, the advantage with Sony is its unique positioning. It's not a mass channel like Star Plus and Zee and has not been a clear GEC leader. "It is an alternative GEC that chooses its viewer rather than viewer choosing it," says Sony's ex-fiction head and senior programming analyst Sanjay Upadhyay. In his view, if Star Plus and Zee reach out to Bharat, Sony addresses India' the educated, young, urban viewer. "It is the best alternative in mass entertainment space for a big chunk of viewers who are looking for innovative and progressive content," elaborates Upadhyay. However, having moved closest to the leader last year, there is a possibility for Sony to shake hands with Star Plus in 2012 when it launches the next season of KBC, provided Sony holds on to 250-260 GRPs over next eight months. Kumar doesn't rule out the possibility. Only time will tell if Sony will be able to consolidate its position this year.
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