Joined: 21 October 2009
Is 7.30 pm the new 9 pm?
Star Plus launched a grand show Saraswatichandra, Sony decided to tap the early slot with a new show Khoobsurat while Sapne Suhane Ladakpan Ke on Zee and Sasural Simar Ka on Colors are going great...
When Sanjay Leela Bhansali made his TV debut as a producer, one would have expected him to get the much-coveted primetime slot of 9 pm for his lavishly mounted show Saraswatichandra. Instead, he has had to contend with, what is known in TV parlance as the early primetime slot of 7.30 pm. But Nikhil Madhok, VP, marketing, Star Plus, reckons that the time slot is best suited for the content and creative concept of the show. Even otherwise, the slot is currently having a lot of traction with Sasural Simar Ka on Colors completing 500 episodes, and Sapne Suhane Ladakpan Ke on Zee topping the charts across channels a couple of weeks ago. Sony which hitherto was airing repeats of CID and Parrvarish on the slot has launched a new show Khoobsurat on the same day as Saraswatichandra.
What has made the slot such a hot property? According to Rajan Shahi whose Amrit Manthan is being aired at 7.30 pm on Life Ok, the market has opened up since the last three-four months with several small-towns and rural areas of the country coming under the ratings purview. "It's the perfect time when people return from work and watch TV together with their families," says Shahi. Agrees Prashant Bhatt, weekday programming head, Colors, "7.30 has been a prime time slot but now it is gaining importance as Television Audience Measure (TAM) meters have expanded and are now monitoring the LS 1 (smaller) towns where the day ends earlier in comparison to metros. This has resulted in the shift in viewership patterns with GECs bringing in focused shows that capitalize on this timeslot."
The slot had opened four years ago when Zee had forayed into it with Chhoti Bahu. "It was a huge success and had several highs. It had TRPs (Television Rating Points) of five and six and since then the slot has continued to draw attention," points out Ajay Balwankar, content head, Zee. Another serial that did extremely well in that band was Sasural Genda Phool.
However, this is the first time that such a grand show Saraswatichandra is being slotted at 7.30 pm. Agrees Shahi, whose show Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai is also known for its production values. He reveals there was a time when broadcasters wouldn't give the same importance to a 7.30 pm show as they would for a 9 pm show. "They would say it is an early slot and refrain from doling out huge budgets," shares Rajan. Today, the sets of Saraswatichandra, alone, according to sources cost around Rs 3 crores.
With such a tough competitor pitted against it, what prompted Sony to launch a new show on the same slot? "We cannot limit our strategies by what others are doing. Each slot is a tough challenge in the Hindi general entertainment space today, so no point ducking that challenge. Also, Sony's prime time has largely been from 8.00pm onwards, there is an increasing chunk of viewers at earlier slots, which our channel has been missing out on," reasons Vivek Bahl, chief creative officer, Sony.
With so much action, it's won't be surprising if producers now start making shows specially for this slot!
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